Author: Surowitz, Daniel A
Date published: November 1, 2011
It's holiday season again! Can it really be a whole year since the last time we did this? Time has a way of slipping through your fingers when you aren't paying attention. But I was paying attention! I remember flipping every one of those calendar pages and marking all the important things to do - projects, deadlines, birthdays, and vacations all noted so I wouldn't miss a thing. Those calendar pages were pretty full, and there was not a lot of space between all the writing. Reviewing all those entries I wondered how we get so busy!
I started in the ACC Safety Office nearly IO years ago, and these days we are busier than ever. A lot has changed over the last IO years to creep onto the schedule and gobble up time. There is a lot more information than there used to be, and every bit of data competes for our attention. Blackberries, cell phones, text messages, e-mail, and video teleconferences have changed the way we communicate. Every bit of information takes time to process and prioritize, and sometimes it is difficult to tear yourself away from all the electronics. It is so tempting to answer one last email, get that latest piece of information for the boss, or respond to that friend's last text message.
Our safety programs have changed, too. We have increased our efforts to strengthen resiliency. We are more involved in helping Airmen cope with some of the stresses that affect their lives and behavior. We have also changed the way we conduct our programs. Almost all mishap investigation and reporting is linked through the internet. So many resources are hosted on databases or web pages, connected through Face book, or even memorialized on YouTube videos. With all the information and resources available, it can be hard to step away from the computer or smart phone.
One thing that has not changed much is the way we have mishaps. We still injure people and damage things by failing to follow tech data, improperly executing TTPs, and forgetting the most basic risk management, like looking both ways before we execute. We hurt ourselves by not paying attention. Videos and electronic messages are useful tools to get attention, but in the end, mishap prevention is really about people. The product of our labor is a change toward more safer attitudes and behavior. We can't forget the value and power of faceto-face contact with people.
So before the calendar pages are completely filled with all the demands on your time, pencil in time for some of those other priorities. Schedule some time away from the computer or put down the Blackberry. Look some folks in the eye and make a difference. Happy holidays from ACC Safety.
Mr. Daniel A. Surowitz
Deputy Director of Safety