Ignoring Safety - It's a Slippery Slope

  • Published
  • By Maj Stephen Nelson
  • 301 FW Safety Officer
   Last week I was driving through River Oaks and noticed a crew cleaning off the top of a large water tank on Robert's Cut Off Road. Like any good work crew, there was one person doing all the work and two other people standing there "supervising."
   The best part of this scene was seeing the worker blasting away with a pressure washer while standing on a sloping wet metal surface about five feet away from a
50-foot vertical drop to the ground with no railings or harness to prevent an "accidental" fall.
   I assume nothing happened to the crew due to the fact that there was no mention of this on the news that night. If something had happened, I am sure the news would have reported about how horrible this "accident" was.
   Accident? ... I don't think so! A truck running off the road and hitting the crew at the base of the water tank is an "accident." But slipping off a sloping wet metal surface with no fall protection while two people watch is no "accident," it is a failure of proper supervision and common sense.
   You have the responsibility as an Air Force supervisor to stop such "accidents" by ensuring your personnel have received the proper job hazard safety training. These are
all contained in your job-specific Air Force Office of Safety and Health (AFOSH) Lesson Plan. In addition to this plan, you are responsible for ensuring compliance with day-to-day practices designed to help avoid workcenter hazards (eye protection, proper headgear, lock-out tag-out, etc).
   If you are a new supervisor you can ensure all your personnel have received this required training by checking for documentation on their AF Form 55s. Here are a few questions that will test your knowledge on safety compliance requirements:
1. What is an AFOSH Lesson Plan?
2. What is Supervisors' Safety Training?
3. Have I ever received an AFOSH safety briefing?
4. What is an AF Form 457 or AF Form 55?
 If you are a supervisor and answered "no" to any of these questions, come talk to the wing safety office for help. If you are an Air Force member and answered "no" to questions three or four, talk to your supervisor for help and guidance.
   Or don't ask your supervisor, and you can be the one who has to explain to the wing commander how an "accident" happened while you were watching.
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