Renewed focus follows name change
By Brian Hagberg, 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 02, 2015
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- In an effort to bring Air Force Ground Safety more in line with industry standards and clarify its primary tasks, the group was officially rebranded to Occupational Safety Oct. 1.
"When we say 'ground safety' to somebody who does safety outside of the military or outside of the Air Force, they're kind of like, 'What does that mean?'" said Tech. Sgt. Alejandro Torres, 50th Space Wing Occupational Safety manager. "But now when we say 'occupational safety,' that makes more sense and it ties in with what other safety professionals in other industries do."
Bill Parsons, the division chief who championed the name change, outlined some of the benefits the name change will provide to safety personnel, chief among them is bringing the Air Force safety community and its vocabulary into the 21st century, an ability to translate duties and responsibilities to external federal agencies and recognition among civilian safety leaders.
"Part of [the name change] is to clarify that focus on what it is that we do," Torres said. "Occupational safety will help to pinpoint our main focus, which is, in fact, on-duty safety. Off-duty safety, it's not going to be forgotten, definitely, it's just the focus is on-duty safety."
This is not to say off-duty safety issues will be ignored, rather that the majority of safety office's time and efforts will be spent looking at on-duty safety issues.
"While off-duty activity safety for our military members is a part of the current safety portfolio, it represents only a small portion of the technical training and professional qualifications required for on-duty safety programs," Parsons said. "The large majority of U.S. Air Force safety professional's time and efforts should be spent on preventing on-duty mishaps and programs advancing on-duty safety."
Torres said a recent campaign illustrated this renewed focus.
"It's already started with the Quest for Zero campaign, focusing on what it is you do on a daily basis in your work centers, and how can you be a change to help keep us on track, make sure nobody gets hurt, not walking past hazards, reporting your mishaps so we can pinpoint any issues that we could probably put our fingers on and help mitigate," he said.
The shift helps safety personnel preserve combat capability by ensuring members are able to be at their work center, carrying out the mission.
"That's the idea, it's not just make sure you drive to work safe, [while] that is important, you have to get here," Torres said. "We want to bring that focus back in and say safety's more than, here are some winter driving tips, it's also let's make sure we can continue the mission, let's preserve combat capabilities through mishap prevention. What we want to be able to do is continue that mission, tie what we do to that mission. We want to preserve that combat capability."