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Staying safe in Colorado, using risk assessment matrix

Risk management

Participating in high-risk activities can be dangerous, this is why Schriever Airmen are encouraged to practice risk management before partaking in any potentially dangerous activity. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Airman Jonathan Whitely)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Participating in high-risk activities can be dangerous, this is why Schriever Airmen are encouraged to practice risk management before partaking in any potentially dangerous activity.

Staff Sgt. Robert Cook, 50th Space Wing safety office occupational safety noncommissioned officer in charge, said the risk assessment matrix is important to look over before participating in high-risk activities.

“The Risk Assessment Matrix forms the basis for judging both the acceptability of a risk and the management level at which the decision on acceptability will be made,” Cook said. “The matrix may also be used to prioritize resources to resolve risks due to hazards or to standardize hazard notification or response actions.”

Senior Airman Nathan Saelens, 50th Comptroller Squadron financial operator, is an Eagle Scout and an avid hiker, he said utilizing the risk assessment matrix and risk management is important when participating in any activities that can involve risk, even hiking.

“Being in Colorado, where the weather is unpredictable, being aware of potential risks is very important,” he said. “Even something as simple as a hiking trip can turn into a mountaineering expedition. By using risk management and the matrix, you’re able to minimize these dangers.”

Cook said using risk assessment isn’t only for young Airmen.

“Airmen at all levels should consider completing a risk assessment when faced with an unfamiliar process that has no clear guidance of how to proceed,” he said. “Everyone involved in the RM process should be aware of what is happening, military and civilian.”

Cook also said practicing risk management should be the first step in planning any activity.

“(It costs nothing), Just your time, but when it comes to your safety and the safety of others, time is something we all can give more of,” he said.

Saelens said being prepared is important.

“Growing up and being involved with the Boy Scouts, being prepared is something which is very important to me,” Saelens said. “Anything can go bad at any time, but by preparing and using the proper resources provided to us by the Air Force, we are really able to capitalize one ‘being prepared.’”

Cook said risk management is important to base operations.

“(Risk management) is an essential element in on- and off-duty operations (and) activities,” he said. “It is a given that uncertainty and risk play a part in military operations and can impact off-duty activities under various circumstances.”

Saelens said practicing risk management comes down to more than the operation, but our core values.

“Service before self – there’s certain things that are such a high-risk, that participating in them could lead to us getting hurt, which could impact the mission. By following risk management and using risk assessment, we’re better doing our job and following a core value in doing so,” Saelens said.

Cook said to learn more about risk assessment and risk management to contact the 50th SW safety office or reference AFPAM90-803 Risk Management Guidelines and Tools.  

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