Taking Safety to the Next Level

The Air Force is transforming its safety efforts with the aim of instilling a culture of risk-management in airmen during duty hours—and equally important—at off-duty times, said Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, Air Force safety chief. “Safety is about preserving combat capabilities,” said Woodward in a Nov. 7 release. “If we don’t think in those terms every day—on and off duty—we’re not doing our job.” She noted that most mishaps among Active Duty airmen occur off-duty. “Sometimes airmen take unnecessary risks and make mistakes,” said Woodward. “We can’t protect airmen against bad choices, but we’ll continue to use new methods to train, educate, and influence them so they have the knowledge and ability to make good decisions based on risk management.” Air Force officials have long practiced safety by managing known risks and hazards, said Woodward. As part of the transformation, they are now also “studying leading indicators of mishaps, while continuing to investigate trailing indicators identified by safety investigations, and applying trending data,” she noted. (Kirtland report by Darlene Y. Cowsert)