Air Force Touts Increase in Ground Safety

There were three on-duty and 42 off-duty ground fatalities in Fiscal 2014—the lowest ground fatality rate in a decade, the Air Force announced last week. That’s down significantly from the 10-year average of 5.9 on-duty and 50.6 off-duty fatalities last year, states the release. “When every airman stays focused and uses the risk management tools available, lives are saved as evidenced by the significant decrease in fatalities, the lowest in 10 years,” said Bill Parsons, the Air Force chief of ground safety. “But we must redouble our efforts: one life lost is one too many.” The leading cause of off-duty fatalities is motor vehicle accidents—including four-wheeled and motorcycle accident deaths—which declined 18 percent from 34 in Fiscal 2013 to 28 in Fiscal 2014. In an effort to reduce that risk, more than 3,300 riders graduated from a total of 458 motorcycle safety classes offered Air Force-wide. Officials attributed the reduction in casualties to increased commander involvement, risk management, job safety training, fall protection emphasis programs, motorcycle training, an interactive mishap prevention program known as “Street Smart,” and seasonal campaigns. “Risk management and safe operations are part of our ethos, and when our airmen apply them to every activity, both on duty and off duty, they mitigate hazards and prevent mishaps,” said Maj. Gen. Kurt Neubauer, the Air Force chief of safety and the commander of the Air Force Safety Center.