Safety pursues diligence to preserve a safer future

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Victoria Sneed
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

"We want to find a way to prevent mishaps from happening in the future and ensure our Airmen's safety," said Master Sgt. William Camp, 57th Wing flight safety NCO in charge.

With seven different air frames assigned to the base, joint and multinational aircraft coming and going for the numerous exercises on base safety has their hands full.

"We are a lot busier than most bases," said Camp. "There are many TDY units here year-round for Red Flag, Green Flag, Weapons School training and other exercises."

With all the moving parts there is bound to be aircrew or maintainer with a bump or bruise here and there.

"Safety tracks every injury that happens on and off the base," said Master Sgt. Boyd Ellis, 57th Wing foreign object damage manager. "The 57 WG safety office consists of  ground, weapons, FOD and flight safety which all work hand-in-hand."

If a maintainer gets stiches or has a car accident, it is all tracked.

"Anything that would cause a maintainer or aircrew member to be out of work for more than one duty day or require treatment greater than first aid, we investigate and track," said Ellis.

Its safety's job to find out what happened and get to the root cause, not to lay blame.

"Safety isn't there to get anyone in trouble," said Master Sgt. Joshua Shepherd, 57th Wing safety NCO," We are there to prevent any further mishaps. We don't use names on any reports. "

Every investigation is logged and shared across the Air Force to track for trends.

All base safety offices use a program called the Air Force Safety Automated System to track all reportable incidents and investigations said Ellis.

"If an Airman pinches his hand trying to lift a part and work on it at the same time, we would investigate and make recommendations," said Camp. "It can be as simple as use two people instead of one and that could be implemented as a policy change here or a change to the technical order."

But it's not just bumps and bruises that are tracked.

"We also record in-flight emergencies, bird strikes, part failures and more," said Camp.

All investigations are completed as quickly as possible to ensure information is disseminated in a timely manner.

"Our job is to help ensure flying and ground operations," said Camp. "If we see a trend of mishaps due to a part failure, it may have many contributing factors."

If one part on one jet fails, AFSAS is checked to see if this is happening elsewhere on the same part and jet.

"If many similar incidents happen and they are all because of one part failing after 1,000 hours, we would suggest that part be checked before that failure point," said Camp.

That info would be tracked to see what factors contributed. Fault could be localized to one base, region, or the way the aircraft is maintained or flown.

"We don't want to recommend grounding an entire fleet of aircraft for one incident," said Ellis "We have to keep safety of the Airmen and national security in mind."

Nellis Air Force base is a large installation and flight safety depends on each Airman to self-police every situation.

Camp stated the most common mishaps are caused by failure to pay attention to details and not using technical orders. Unless it's a parts failure, most mishaps are preventable.