Mission first, safety always

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
Airmen are one of the most valuable assets in the United States Air Force, making safety one of the top priorities in day-to-day activities.

Malmstrom’s mission is to support nuclear deterrence by defending America with safe, secure and effective nuclear forces and combat-ready Airmen while influencing the world everyday with precision, pride and commitment.

The mission would be near impossible to execute without Airmen, which is why the occupational safety office has serious business with preventing unsafe workplace practices and job sites.

“Our job is mishap prevention,” said Master Sgt. Thomas Moore, 341st Missile Wing safety superintendent. “Mishaps can be any occurrence or series of occurrences that result in injury to Air Force personnel or damage to government property.”

The occupational safety office performs annual facility inspections of every building on the base and within the 13,800 square mile missile complex. The  office inspects each missile alert facility and launch control center, however, launch facilities are inspected by another section of safety, the weapons safety office.

The office also performs random spot inspections which are primarily unannounced inspections focusing on identifying preventable workplace hazards that could potentially cause injury or death to a member.

However, Moore said every time he leaves his office, he conducts spot inspections whether he’s noting it or correcting it on the spot.

“Once you’re in safety, it never goes away,” Moore said. “When I’m driving down the road and I see people driving without seatbelts and using cell phones, I’ll get back to the office and document it.”

Jason Webb, 341st MW occupational safety and health specialist, holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in occupational safety and health. He said since obtaining his degrees and working in safety things have never been the same.

“Even when I’m off work and off duty and driving by jobsites I’m constantly looking for unsafe work practices,” Webb said. “If I see any unsafe act and stop it, I could possibly prevent an injury or fatality from occurring.”

To combat bad practices, the safety office reaches out to the base in different ways to help educate individuals on improving personal or workplace procedures. They hold supervisor safety training every month, speak at the First Term Airmen Class, and hold safety courses and driving classes.

“We help educate people on (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and (Air Force Instruction) standards,” Moore said. “We let them know what they’re doing wrong, why it’s wrong and how to fix it.”

Moore said he does this not only because it is part of his job, but because he feels there’s a much bigger picture.

“The fact of the matter is my job is to make sure everyone goes home to the ones they love,” Moore said. “No one wants to have to knock on someone’s door and apologize for the loss of a life.”

Webb said he feels as though some people may think safety is out to get them and harass them on the job site, however, he said the safety office does their job for a good reason.

“We do it because we know the rules and regulations,” Webb said. “We know the hazards and what those hazards can do to an individual. We want to help prevent people from having an accident.”

Moore and Webb work side-by-side, doing their best to keep people safe and always looking forward to educating and preventing serious mistakes from occurring.

“I love my job and I love coming to work every day,” Webb said. “I’m passionate about safety and if I can help others return home to their families at the end of day, then I’m doing my job.”