It’s human nature to test and push limits, but at times we overlook the risks associated with a particular situation. While attempting physical challenges, people are injured because they aren’t fully aware of the possibility that something unpleasant could happen.
It’s the duty of Ben Bruce, 56th Fighter Wing ground safety manager, to help the wing commander and all subordinate commanders manage their health and safety programs, ensuring mishap prevention and safety compliance. The “Safety Dude,” as many know him, makes sure safety is first 24/7.
“When we understand there is a chance of danger to everything we do, we become aware of the risks,” Bruce said. “The idea is to not be afraid of that activity, but to think about those major risks.”
Since 2004, the Air Force has lost about 150 service members due to combat and approximately 400 due to recreational activities including car accidents, motorcycle accidents and sports mishaps, Bruce said. The real danger for Air Force personnel isn’t combat but the daily grind.
When on duty, personnel have guidelines they must abide by, as well as having safety instructors and supervisors. But when off duty the responsibility of ensuring safety falls on each individual, and it can become challenging to perceive the risk of the activity.
Potentially dangerous situations can be averted by doing a risk awareness exercise.
Take the top three reasons why it could be dangerous and become more conscious of those dangers. This will make people less prone to accidents and injury, Bruce said.
“When people are more aware of the risks they take, they tend to approach the activity with more caution,” said Staff Sgt. Jason De Jesus, 56th FW ground safety technician. “We hope to continue to raise awareness so that Luke Airmen can be safer in their day-to-day activities.”