Safety superintendent: 'Mission first, safety always'

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: This is the first article in a series focusing on the sections that form the F.E. Warren safety office.

Effective leaders must take safety into account when conducting an operation; on Warren, the 90th Missile Wing Safety Office ensures that the Airmen who accomplish the mission do so in the safest possible environment.

The 90th MW ground safety office's job is to advise commanders on managing risk in order to accomplish the mission with minimal impact Airmen or equipment.

"In the military we accept risk, but we want to accept the lowest level of risk," said Master Sgt. Michael Moriarty, 90th Missile Wing Safety Office ground safety superintendent. "Mission first, safety always. To me what that means is that, while we still have to complete the mission in the military, we'll do it while trying to minimize that risk as low as we possibly can and accomplish what we have to do."

"Everything comes back to 'Are you working in a safe environment?','' Moriarty said. "It all comes back to keeping our personnel safe while they are doing their job."

Safety is a major theme on all bases, and the focus of the 90th MW safety office addresses issues Airmen face with the ICBM mission.

"On F.E. Warren, compliance is a very small part of our job because the 90th Missile Wing is that good," said Michael Woods, 90th Missile Wing Safety Office ground safety manager. "We find very few hazards when we go out and inspect and we do go out and nitpick."

Woods said F.E. Warren has an excellent safety record, which is a reflection of the safety office's contributions. However, the main contributor is the caliber of Airmen at Warren.

The office focuses on risk advisement, compliance inspections, safety training and mishap investigations.

Road safety is a huge piece of the safety mission within AF global strike, Moriarty said

"I've been told it's [about] 8 million miles we drive a year and you're not going to see that at other bases," Moriarty said.

The office provides gravel road and skid car training for Airmen who travel the missile complex regularly.

Senior Master Sgt. Brian Thornock, 90th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management superintendent, has experience as the previous 90th LRS safety representative and said he values the safety of his Airmen.

Thornock said the Warren Safety Office is great because of their focus on the Airmen's safety.

"It's not about the safety office, it's all about people not getting hurt," Thornock said.

The ground safety office has won many awards, showing their methods have garnered positive feedback. Some of the awards include the Air Force Chief of Safety Outsanding Achievement Award for Ground Safety 2014 and both 20th Air Force and AFGSC Annual Ground Safety Excellence 2014 awards.

"We're the best of the missile wings," Woods said. "We were best twice in global strike and that has to do with the leaders outside the [safety office]."

The ground safety office advises on risk, however risk decisions are made by the commanders and executed their subordinates- not the safety office, he said.

Accomplishing the mission and applying safety to the work environment go hand-in-hand, Thornock said.

"If my Airmen aren't performing the mission in a safe manner, they may injure themselves and be unavailable to accomplish the mission," Thornock said. "The safety of my Airmen is paramount."