USAFE – Airman Information File – June 2004

Four of our USAFE team members will never see their loved ones again — their promising lives were cut short in vehicle accidents last year.
One of the hardest things we do as leaders is tell loved ones a team member is injured or killed. It is not something we like to do, but it is even more frustrating if the situation was preventable.
Everything we do involves risk, whether it’s traveling to and from work, going through a preflight checklist, or having a barbecue with friends. We need to stop throwing risk management into a box to be pulled out only when we need to consider “critical” tasks in the workplace.
Some tasks are simple, like taking the time to buckle your seatbelt or knowing if you’ve been drinking, then you need to let somebody else drive. Others are more complex and may require a more methodical approach to risk management.
Operational Risk Management (ORM) is a tool to do just that — it merely puts logical steps to common sense.
ACT SMART is a simple framework to help remember the six steps of ORM:

A-Assess environment for risks
1. Identify the Hazards
2. Assess the Risk

C-Consider options to limit risk
3. Analyze Control Measures
4. Make Control Decisions

T-Take appropriate action
5. Implement Risk Controls
6. Supervise and Review

We developed a strong safety program in USAFE and enjoy a good safety record so far this year.
Through May 2004, we experienced 35 percent fewer mishaps (57 in number) than during the same period last year. This is encouraging, but best practices and methods mean nothing if not
applied at all times.
As we enjoy the summer months, we must keep our guard up. Statistically, we are entering one of the most dangerous periods of the year. Over the last 10 years nearly half of all fatal accidents happened in the summer. Consequently, it is especially critical during the summer to think for a minute before you execute — have a plan prior to engaging in activities, then stick with the plan.
Bottom line: Risk is everywhere. Develop a plan to manage it. Risk management cannot be compartmentalized to the workplace, nor simply an afterthought. Take the time to protect our most valuable resource in USAFE — you!