445th Safety Office....friend or foe?

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shen-Chia McHone
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
What is the function of the wing safety office and what can they do for me? That may be some of the questions that come up from wing members facing safety issues in their work space.
Like a jack of all trades, the wing safety office is comprised of unique individuals who are experts in their field and come together to help the wing and base avoid mishaps. Safety encompasses functions relating to safety education; risk assessment; contractor and construction safety; mishap investigation, and analysis and trends computations; operations and facilities evaluation, inspection, and survey; consultation with commanders, functional managers, supervisors, and employees; and safety education and awareness promotion at all levels.

Wing Safety is the wing/base commander's program for overall safety. It usually entails something new from day to day and working with a diverse group of people.

"Our primary mission is to be the eyes and ears for commanders, help establish their policies as well as supporting Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Air Force safety standards, code of federal regulations, and development of Operational Risk management," said Lt. Col. Steve Griffin, 445th Airlift Wing Safety Office, chief of wing safety.

As a former maintainer, flight test officer, instructor examination pilot and mishap investigator who has served for more than 31 years, Griffin said he loves flying different aircraft and working with people to make a difference.

"The job is regulations and situational based, helping people to get the job done while doing it safely and mitigating risk. We help commanders by applying Air Force training, providing support and voicing the commander's concerns," said Griffin.

The safety office works directly with local police, security forces, aerospace medicine squadron, aircraft maintenance squadron, maintenance squadron, civil engineering squadron, 445th AW and the 88th Air Base Wing to identify hazards for industrial areas and the flight line, and piecing together how it will affect the Air Force mission.

Griffin said sometimes people only see safety as an afterthought when an accident has already happened. However, identifying areas of hazards ahead of time goes a long way to prevent something bad from happening.

"I'm like a parent; I don't want people to get hurt so I try to keep them safe. We're not here to prevent anyone from doing their job. We want to help people accomplish what they need to do without injuring themselves, others, or damaging Air Force or other property," Griffin said.

"The safety staff's main purpose in life is to see that everyone does the work and goes home without any injuries," said Chief Master Sgt. Dennis Pearson, 445th AW Safety Office ground and weapons safety manager. "We have a diverse knowledge base because we get to go out and learn about the other career fields that are out there.

"During my last assignment, I got to work with explosive ordnances and the FBI. I got to fly on different flights, and I also had the opportunity to learn the role of an aerial porter. I feel we have one of the best jobs in the Air Force because of our constant interactions with wing members," Pearson added.

Airmen can rest assured that they are in good hands thanks to the 445th Airlift Wing Safety Office. Whether it is a plane crash, slip or fall, or even a vehicle accident, the wing safety office is available to all commanders.

"We're not looking to find something wrong or get someone in trouble, nor do we want to stifle production or delay a mission. We are here to aide our wing members to be able to get them home at the end of the day in the same or better condition than when they arrived," Pearson said.