National Safety Month – Safety Being Our #1 Priority
June 22, 2023
National Safety Month, celebrated annually throughout the month of June, serves as a reminder and catalyst for promoting a culture of safety within our communities and workplaces. This month-long observance provides an opportunity to raise awareness, educate, and engage in proactive measures that prioritize safety and well-being.
The purpose of National Safety Month is multi-fold. It aims to create a collective consciousness regarding the importance of safety, to inspire individuals to take action to prevent accidents and injuries, and to foster a culture where safety becomes an inherent part of daily routines and decision-making processes.
Management's message of "Safety is our number one priority" seems to be overshadowed by the demands of quick turnarounds and on-time departures. To the extent that we are collectively willing to short cut our commitment to safety by deviating from standard operating procedures (SOP), we must acknowledge this puts the corporate safety culture at risk of transforming into a "make it work" culture. There is danger associated with this shift in focus.
In today's environment, each of us must renew our personal commitment to prioritize safety. We cannot allow distractions, which include company on time and turn compliance indices, to divert our attention from our primary mission—ensuring safety in all aspects, at all times.
We cannot let the pressure for on-time departures, quick turnarounds, or pre-departure services to lead us away from following standard operating procedures. Each of us has specific assignments, detailed briefings. Arming and disarming cabin doors must be among our highest priorities because of the inherent danger to ourselves and others associated with inadvertent slide deployments.
We must each accept the responsibility associated with the assignment to any cabin door on every aircraft. As Safety Professionals, it is imperative that we focus on these specific responsibilities. There are certain tips available to reinforce our commitment to the arming/disarming of and the consequential safe operation of aircraft cabin doors:
- Utilize your eFAOM to review your responsibilities before each flight, with particular emphasis on door operations for aircraft you don't frequently fly.
- Do not allow yourself to be coerced into rushing. When necessary, be deliberate and slow down which is undeniably the best way to fulfill your responsibilities safely. Take your moment for safety.
- Maximize use of detailed ISAP reporting in any instance where you are either compelled to rush or when you ask for a moment for safety and it is not provided to you. This allows the Event Review Committee (ERC) to recommend mitigations to our procedures, should they be necessary.
- Always STOP, DROP and REVIEW before approaching any cabin door.
Along with us, management must acknowledge the highly distracted environment in which we are operating. We must acknowledge the environment of rushing has become deeply ingrained in the day-to-day operations of our airline. As part of this acknowledgement, the message from management must undergo a transformation where an emphasis on compliance with all Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) and prioritizing safety over on-time departures is paramount. Management must outwardly demonstrate a commitment to employees who demonstrate their commitment, in all that they do, to safety. This must become the primary directive from the highest levels of management.
Until that time comes, it is incumbent on us to lead the way in this initiative. We must uphold our commitment to safety and renew our professional commitment to each other by taking the time necessary to fulfill our safety responsibilities and adhere to all FARs.
Furthermore, maximize the safety briefing before each flight departure as a valuable opportunity to remind one another of the priorities we have as safety professionals.
In conclusion, the Safety Committees of our Union advocate and promote the need for an unwavering commitment to safety. Your dedication and vigilance are essential in maintaining a safe working environment. By working together and prioritizing safety above all else, the outcome is that the message of "Safety is our number one priority" becomes more than a message and is transformed into a genuine culture that becomes pervasive in all that we do.