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Making our workplace safer

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Let me begin here the same way I ended up our commander's call Wednesday afternoon. And that's by thanking you once again for everything you do around here. There are few things - if any - that give me more pleasure than to publicly recognize some of the super-star award-winners we have. You make us all proud - each and every one of you - and that's why it's always a treat for me to see lots of you at the same time, so we can exchange thoughts and ideas and get to know one another a little better. It's such a treat to work with such dedicated professionals. I can't ever say that enough.

I would ask that all of you take the time to read the Air Force diversity statement from Secretary Wynne on the front page. I will not tolerate any form of unlawful discrimination. None. When confronted with such a situation you have a role and a responsibility. Don't forget our "Core Values" and never ignore the problem; speak up and seek help. My goal is to ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect ...I expect active support and full involvement with this policy to provide a safe, non-discriminatory, hostility-free work environment for all our people. We owe that - at the very least - to one another. Another way to take care of one another is to encourage safety.

As the weather continues to warm up, the safety statistics show us that the chances some of us will be involved in some kind of mishap also increases. The "Safety Mitigation Plan" we put together last fall seems to be working well. Last year at this time (1st and 2nd quarters, FY '07) we had 21 lost work-day mishaps - this year at the same time we have had 11 ... more than a 47 percent reduction. I directly attribute this improvement in our safety numbers to our "Wingman mind-set," staying focused and on personal accountability. And while I'm on the subject, let's not forget that Spring Break hits Brevard County tomorrow. Please be careful if you are driving long distances, and take the time to plan your trip and take your time.

If you plan on hitting the beach, please be conscious of the sun, especially if you have young children. It doesn't take long to "fry" if you don't use sun block. Don't take that chance, please. Sunburns are serious and can be very, very painful.

When driving - especially along A1A - please be conscious of the massive number of tourists who will be driving and walking our local roads. They may not know where they are going and you need to be especially vigilant at all times. Slow down and be alert. It could save a life. Go Sharks!