Occupational safety; keeping Airmen, equipment mission-ready

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Magen M. Reeves
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Tyndall prioritizes safety across the installation to keep Airmen and aircraft fully mission-capable. The 325th Fighter Wing safety office has oversight of safety requirements, but works as a team with units to maintain safe operations.

The safety office serves as the focal point for proactive mishap prevention by assessing unit safety programs and inspecting facilities annually to protect Airmen and equipment in three distinct areas: flight, weapons and occupational. Occupational safety is perhaps the biggest task in that it applies to the installation as a whole.

“There is a lot to consider when looking at national, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Department of Defense and Air Force [Safety Center] guidance,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Dillard, 325th FW safety noncommissioned officer in charge. “Safety regulations can and do change often. We can’t expect (units) to know all the regulations and changes in guidance, so we as safety Airmen are responsible for being on top of that as the subject matter experts.”

Safety Airmen perform annual inspections and work with unit safety representatives who are responsible for monthly spot inspections within their work centers. USR’s also track job safety training outline records, personal protective equipment requirements and submit hazard and mishap reports. JTSOs are consistent across every work center in which they apply.

“Each shop has occupational safety guidelines tailored to their duties, for example, forklift training due to requirements to drive forklifts as part of the JSTO for supervisor safety,” said Staff Sgt. Noah Most, 325th Munitions Squadron USR. “We also have CPR, explosive safety, controlled area and fire extinguisher training for everyone.”

Some units also have additional requirements depending their mission which can fall under flight, weapons or occupational safety, but all three of the distinct safety areas can, and sometimes do, align together.

According to the 325th MUNS, their mission is to provide world-class munitions support while also preparing for future mission needs.

“Staying safe is the most important part of the program,” said Most. “If my job wasn’t getting done, an increased risk of mishap could occur, which could affect the mission both up and down the chain of command. I'm happy to say munitions is maintaining safe work practices resulting in greater mission efficiency due to our culture of safety awareness being as it is.”

The 325th MUNS may seem like a special circumstance due to the nature of their mission, but they’re really not that different in regards to safety. Following inspections, wing safety Airmen debrief that unit’s leadership on significant discrepancies identified in annual or monthly inspections. This helps to maximize operational transparency and mission effectiveness.

“Safety is a springboard toward operation effectiveness,” said Maj. Justin Cassidy, 325th MUNS commander. “Without safety, there can be a question about our capabilities, whether that’s in garrison or expeditionary.” 

Safety is a team effort as it requires all Airmen to be consciously aware, with the wing safety office being the backbone for Tyndall to be mission-ready in every occupation.

“Wing safety plays a part in every mission and we get the opportunity to learn a portion of every job,” said Dillard. “I get job satisfaction from helping units improve their safety programs and it gives me a sense of ownership in what I bring to Tyndall’s mission by making sure our Airmen stay as healthy and safe as possible.”