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I shot an arrow into the air

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- “I shot an arrow into the air, it fell to earth, I knew not where,” from “The Arrow and the Song” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Honestly, what in tarnation does this have to do with safety?

Hazards and hazard inspections. They’re required to be conducted at a minimum of once per month and documented by supervisors. Additionally, each and every one of us that trains or works on this base should be aware of hazards, report them and help to get rid of them. Is this important? Let’s discuss.
What’s a definition for hazard? A hazard is any source of potential damage, harm or adverse health effects on humans, property and the environment.

I was working for the U.S. Forest Service in my past life and conducting an annual facilities inspection. Low and behold I looked up at one of our buildings and couldn’t help but notice a target arrow had somehow mysteriously imbedded itself beneath the eves on one of our maintenance garages. I looked around and noticed that Apollo, the Greek god of archery, wasn’t present, and there wasn’t a target range in St. Maries, Idaho. So how and why did that arrow become a part of our building? I never did find out. I suspect it was just shot in the air, fell to earth and the archer knew not where.

The point I am trying to make is, shouldn’t someone that worked in that building have noticed this prior to my annual visit? From what I could tell, it was a pretty old arrow and had been imbedded quite a while.

Hazard recognition is why supervisor’s inspections are so very important. Arrows raining down on a U.S. Forest Service garage are extreme I’ll admit, but there can be hazards anywhere which are caused by just about anything. They can be simple, such as a tripping hazards, slipping hazards, falling hazards or complicated, like a machinery guard hazards, trenching hazards or confined space hazards. They are always present.

As I wrote last month, each and every person on this base must seek out hazards and report them promptly to their supervisors, managers or leaders for correction. Even the simplest of hazards can have unwanted consequences if not corrected. Once these hazards are reported everyone can work on steps to get rid of them. Result: unharmed humans, environment and property. Simple.

In closing I just want to stress the importance of everyone conducting hazard hunts to make areas safer. Just leave the arrows at home.

17 TRW Wing Safety – “Stay safe my friends”