Freedom Wing Committed to Align Standards with OSHA

  • Published
  • By Airman First Class Ruben A. Rios
  • 514th Air Mobility Wing
Unit Safety Representatives and Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 514th Air Mobility Wing received Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety training August 6.


The 514th AMW Safety Office hosted its first-ever OSHA 30-hour course for general industry standards. The course is one of several that aim to prepare for the re-write and issuance of the current Occupational Safety Instruction used by the Air Force Instruction 91-203.


Staff Sgt. Gregory Schpakow, 514th AMW unit safety non-commissioned officer, conducted the course. Schpakow was authorized to provide training on hazard recognition by OSHA following several weeks of training.


“These classes provide training on industry standards in the civilian safety community,” said Schpakow. “The 30-hour training program is intended to provide workers, whose jobs include safety responsibilities, a greater depth and variety of training.”


“The training emphasizes hazard identification, avoidance, control and prevention,” said Master Sgt. Jacob Ladd, 514th AMW safety office superintendent. “Our focus is the building of a safety community where Unit Safety Representatives know each other, use each other as references and work with everyone to create the safest environment possible.”


In an effort to further expand the safety community at JBMDL and within the 514th AMW, Security Forces and Weapons Safety personnel are slated to attend OSHA’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry Course, Permit-required Confined Space Entry Course and OSHA Guide to Industrial Hygiene Course later this month.


“We scheduled the original 30-hour course and the additional courses around Safe + Sound Week to emphasize the Air Force commitment to align its safety goals with OSHA standards and regulations in an effort to reduce the number of injuries, illnesses and fatalities across the country,” said Ladd.


OSHA’s national Safe + Sound campaign, taking place August 13-19, is a nationwide event to raise awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs.


The Air Force has been working closely with OSHA. The course included a guest speaker, Holly Canally, the State Plan Manager in OSHA’s Region III office.


“The wing benefitted from her understanding of OSHA programs,” said Schpakow.


Richard Mendelson, the acting assistant secretary of OSHA, met with senior Air Force leadership including Chief Master Sgt. Joshua Franklin, career field manager for safety at the Air Force Safety Center, in June to discuss the mission.


Franklin provided guidance on the forthcoming changes and discussed how the changes benefit the mission of the Air Force in a publicly available video dispatched to the official AFSEC Facebook page.


 “AFI 91-203 is currently in the comment phase of a major re-write to align the document with the goals of senior Air Force safety leadership,” said Bill Parsons, Air Force chief of occupational safety. “We have been in the discussion, planning and early action phases of moving from the strict use of AFI 91-203 to introducing and expecting greater use of the Code of Federal Regulations and National Consensus Standards where and when possible.


“This effort is not without challenges,” Parsons said. “We at AFSEC are working a plan whereby we smartly move ahead without throwing the Air Force safety community and general workforce/management into turmoil.”


The United States Air Force, as a whole, was directed to perform an operational safety review following the loss of a C-130 Hercules and crew en route to Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., May 2.


“The participation of the Unit Safety Representatives and their commanders is vital to the success of the program and the goals of the safety community in the Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Ed Yeash, 514th AMW chief of safety. “It’s good to see the level of commitment demonstrated here in the 514th. Having the best possible training for our people is a great magnifier of our knowledge, skills and abilities, as well as our ability to mitigate hazards prior to incidents occurring which result in property damage, mission degradation or worst of all, injury to our Airmen.”