Safety office wins 5 categories at 2010 AETC Safety Awards

by John Ingle
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

11/19/2010 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 82nd Training Wing Safety Office will represent Air Education and Training Command for two Air Force-level awards after it won five of seven categories submitted in the 2010 AETC Safety Awards.

The office will compete for the Air Force Chief of Safety Outstanding Achievement Award for Ground Safety, and Mark Schaffer, the installation's ground safety manager, will compete in the Safety Career Professional of the Year category.

The 82nd TRW Safety Office won awards in the following categories:
· AETC To Promote Safety (TOPS) Trophy, awarded to the best overall safety office.
· AETC Ground Safety Excellence Trophy, awarded to the best ground safety program. Sheppard will represent AETC at the Air Force level.
· AETC Director of Safety Leadership was awarded to James Zillweger, the wing's chief of safety.
· AETC Ground Safety Manager of the Year was awarded to Mr. Schaffer.
· National Safety Council "Award of Honor," awarded to the wing for mishap reduction recognition.

Mr. Schaffer was quick to point out that any individual awards are a direct reflection of the men and women working in the safety office and across both wings . Even with all the accolades from AETC, he said there is one "award" in which they are most proud of.

"Our best award is that we had no fatalities" over the last fiscal year, he said. "Not losing any of our Airmen, civilians or contractors to a preventable mishap is the best award."

Mr. Zillweger said the year was challenging for the office as it faced two major higher-headquarters inspections: the Unit Compliance Inspection and the Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health Compliance Assessment Management Program. But the professionalism of his staff is what propelled the team to the most success he has seen since he arrived at the office in 1999.

"They know the job that needs to be done," he said of his staff. "They know what it takes to get it done. There's great office chemistry."

Mr. Zillweger said the success of Sheppard's Mishap Prevention Program is also attributable to hard work and diligence at promoting safety at the unit levels. He said his goal isn't to be "black hatters" that search for failures, rather it's to work in unison to promote successful programs.

"(The) attitude at the unit level helps us," he said. "They come to us. They don't wait until the next inspection to find (deficiencies within their unit)."

The results of the Air Force-level awards should be released in the early part of 2011.