Top 10 ways to dazzle IG: No. 7 Safety

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- "Approach duties with a safety-oriented mindset, know when not to press forward on actions because they're unsafe and apply operational risk management techniques to accomplish the mission!"
- Maj. Gen. Mark Zamzow, former Air Mobility Command inspector general, TIG Brief Sept.-Oct. 2004

Safety is paramount -- NOT! Before the safety conscious give me the scarlet "U" for "unsafe," read what follows. 

The mission is paramount; the mission requires that we retain maximum mission effectiveness over time; we can only maintain mission effectiveness over time if we preserve our resources, facilities and personnel. 

That means that safety is paramount to mission execution! Our demanding missions require that we take risks. We are not risk adverse; rather, we proactively manage risk by identifying the hazards, assessing the risk, create and implement mitigation controls and then reassess our success. 

The implementation of ORM is a tool to enable the mission to be executed quickly, easily and repeatedly with successful results. In fact, the mission may require accepting great additional risk in order to achieve a great objective or opportunity. 

When we do something that provides little tangible benefit, yet is loaded with risk, then we don't do it. If we fail to properly execute mitigation strategies, then we unknowingly increase our risk to unacceptable levels. You know the basics: look both ways before crossing the street; wear your PPE and reflective belts; if it looks stupid, it usually is. 

When unusual situations occur, consider the hazards and risks, and then make the decision at the appropriate level. Let common sense guide your judgment and the mission will prevail. 

Slow is smooth; smooth is fast!