Protecting Team Seymour from hazards, mishaps

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kylee Gardner
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base depends on the well-being of its civilian personnel, Airmen and their families, and there’s one shop that helps ensure their safety every day; the 4th Fighter Wing Safety Office.
With a shop of 13 people, these safety specialists work hard to eliminate potential mishaps and workplace hazards across the entire base.
“The safety office has three sections; occupational, flight and weapons safety,” said Staff Sgt. Jake Buerger, 4th Fighter Wing occupational safety technician. “Each section has their own focus, but collectively we ensure the safety of all the base populous on every part of the installation.”
The occupational section focuses on Airmen’s everyday duty environments and procedures.
“Some of our responsibilities include making sure Airmen’s protective posture equipment is working properly and the Airmen know how to use it correctly, their facilities’ conditions are up to code, personnel have basic safety knowledge, etc.,” said Beurger.
Additionally, the flight section focuses on flight safety and the weapons section focuses on the base’s ammunitions and explosives.
“We are responsible for inspecting over $75 million worth of ammunitions on Seymour Johnson,” said Master Sgt. Andrew Herard, 4th Fighter Wing weapons safety manager. “We make sure units that have these hazardous materials are utilizing proper handling and storage techniques, as well as following Air Force guidelines on the use of those weapons.”
These experts also help prevent accidents from occurring by educating Airmen and their families on safety precautions around the base and enforcing safety rules to help keep everyone out of harm’s way.
“Before we conduct our inspections or trainings, we study the DOD guidelines for safety measures and precautions so we can be sure we are correctly enforcing those guidelines across the installation,” said Herard.
Furthermore, each unit on base has safety representatives who assist the safety office in implementing safety programs into the workplace.
“With our safety reps, we conduct annual trainings and briefings to ensure they are aware of the safety statistics within their shops,” said Herard. “These stats include what hazards each unit have been or might be facing. By reporting that, we are then able to give them direction on how to prevent further mishaps.”
The 4th FW safety office works hard every day to prevent harm from coming to any part of Team Seymour.
“A lot of people think we work against them to get them in trouble when we conduct our inspections, which couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Buerger. “Our goal is to be there for our wingmen and make sure that while they complete the mission, they are healthy and safe from any potential hazards.”