Safety is no accident at Robins

  • Published
  • By Kisha Foster Johnson
  • Robins Public Affairs

Preventing slips, trips, falls and other hazards is the main mission of the 78th Air Base Wing Safety Office at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

“Our goal is to keep Team Robins safe, and we take pride in what we do,” said Scott Eck, 78th ABW Safety Office director. “We know people need to be as safe as possible in order to get their missions done because we are all here to support the warfighter.”

The 78th ABW Safety Office is divided into three sections: Occupational Safety, Weapons and Flight Safety.

- Flight Safety ensures safe flying operations for the wing’s aircraft and for transient aircraft.

- Weapons Safety is responsible for all safety issues involving the use, storage and transportation of explosive materials.

- Occupational Safety is responsible for the safety, both on-and off-duty, of the entire base, including military members, civilian employees, and dependents. Occupational Safety includes workplace, traffic and recreational safety.

“If I go out to a unit and see a fire extinguisher is past its inspection date, my response isn’t just to say fix it,” said John Ainsworth, 78th ABW Safety Office Occupational Safety manager. “Instead, I will tell them to develop a process where all fire extinguishers are checked on a regular schedule. Whenever there is a problem, I say let’s pull those onion layers back to figure out what’s missing to make a safe environment.”

As safety manager, Ainsworth provides training to supervisors and unit safety representatives.

“I think we are an investigative tool and teaching tool. We are like ‘triple A’ for commanders. We advise, assist and audit their safety programs,” Ainsworth said. “How do you integrate safety and risk management in all that you do? When we come out to do an inspection, we shouldn’t leave without telling them what outstanding looks like. We are here to help pave the way to the next step of being better.”

Each month, the safety office emails its “Supervisor’s Safety Talk” newsletter to unit safety representatives base wide. Then, those USRs share that information with their team members.

“Safety should be everyone’s concern,” said Eck. “If workers have issues, it is important supervisors listen and provide feedback. The workforce is the eyes and ears for safety. I always encourage supervisors to take employee concerns seriously and look into them as soon as possible.”

Ainsworth agreed.

“There is a psychology to safety,” he said. “If an employee feels their concerns are not being taken seriously, an angst can develop between the worker and management. So, now you have an employee who feels ignored and won’t take the time to address future safety matters because he or she is not being kept in the loop about previous concerns.”

When mishaps occur and are reported, an investigation is conducted and a trend analysis is performed. That information is compiled to help develop effective accident prevention strategies.

“We are a helping agency,” said Eck. “Everyone deserves a safe and healthy workplace. At the end of the day, they should go home with all the fingers and toes they had when they arrived at the installation.”