KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, NM --
The Department of the Air Force remains committed to keeping Airmen and Guardians safe and sound in their workplace. A good way to do that is by getting personnel and units to participate in events like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Safe and Sound week which runs from August 15-21.
This nationwide event encourages participants to lead by example and share what they do to improve workplace safety through a series of challenges. The Air Force and Space Force challenge centers around the “before and after picture” giving Airmen and Guardians an opportunity to highlight hazards they came across and show what it looked like after. Each picture will need to include a short description on what hazard was found and what they did to fix it.
Safe and Sound week came about in June of 2017 when OSHA led a joint effort with multiple safety organizations and trade associations to establish a new national safety campaign. The goal was to recognize the successes in workplace health and safety programs by giving organizations and their workers the materials and education to help raise awareness for the value and importance of those programs in injury prevention.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of worker deaths and reported injuries in the United States has decreased by more than 60 percent in the past four decades since the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act was passed. However, every year, more than 5,000 workers are killed on the job (a rate of 14 per day), and more than 3.6 million suffer a serious job-related injury or illness.
Safe and Sound week consists of three core elements, management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to find and fix hazards. The first being management leadership demonstrates commitment at the highest level of an organization to build safety and health programs to keep their workers safe. Worker participation is getting meaningful engagement from workers at all levels to establish, implement, evaluate and improve upon safety and health programs in their workplace. The third core element is a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards, where everyone takes a proactive approach to identify and eliminate sources of potential injuries or illnesses.
Another objective behind Safe and Sound week is to shift businesses and organizations to build safety and health programs.
“I encourage leadership at all levels to work with your Airmen and Guardians in creating and keeping a robust safety culture that will ensure mission success,” said William Walkowiak, chief of Occupational Safety for the Department of the Air Force. “Give your Airmen and Guardians the responsibility and support they need to make their work areas hazard-free during the Safe and Sound week and beyond.”
This is a great opportunity for Air Force and Space Force units to evaluate and inspect their safety programs to ensure they are working properly and it also gives the chance to inspect work areas to eliminate any hazards that exist.
A shout out from the Department of the Air Force Chief of Safety Major General Jeannie Leavitt will go out to the top three submissions in the “Before and After Picture Challenge” and each participant will be recognized on the Air Force Safety Center public webpage and social media sites. Additionally, they will receive an AFSEC virtual coin and participation certificate.
Challenge each other and other units to participate in Safe and Sound week, and keep the momentum of finding and fixing hazards all year-round.
With all challenges there are rules to follow, check out those rules here: https://www.safety.af.mil/Divisions/Occupational-Safety-Division/Safe-Sound/
Building a safety culture is key to workplace safety!