This week's document: Audit Report on the "Air Force Ground Safety Program"
Originating agency: Air Force Audit Agency (AFAA)
Document date: January 22, 2010
Every Friday, POGO will strive to make one document available that we or others have obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), especially documents that have not previously been posted online. Some of these documents will be more important than others, some may only be of historical interest— although relevance is in the eye of the beholder. POGO is doing this to highlight the importance of open government and FOIA throughout the year.
By Nick Schwellenbach
Thought we dropped the ball and wouldn't do a FOIA Friday this time around, huh? Think again.
At twelve Air Force installations, safety officials failed to conduct two-thirds of "required spot inspections, including inspections of high-risk areas such as fuel and munitions storage sites," according to a 2010 audit report obtained through the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA).
The report points to these examples of "high risk" areas:
...the USAF Academy (USAFA) did not inspect the Munitions Storage Area and Rocket Launches, and personnel at Charleston [Air Force Base; AFB] did not inspect the Hydraulic Shop and Fuel Storage Tank.
Potentially more problematic: "safety personnel at Elmendorf and Robins AFBs (both 402 MXW and 78 ABW) did not designate any high interest areas."
One-third of required annual unit inspections were not conducted at nine sites as well.
For instance, "safety personnel at Elmendorf [Air Force Base] did not inspect 290 facilities," including power substations.
"Adequate facility inspections reduce and prevent industrial mishaps, help protect Airmen’s lives, and ensure operational capability," notes the audit report by the Air Force Audit Agency (AFAA). The audit was finished in January 2010.
The report's executive summary notes that safety personnel at these 13 Air Force facilities also did not "report more than 400 (23 percent) mishaps reviewed to wing safety offices, and wing safety did not report nearly 200 (11 percent) reportable mishaps to the Air Force Safety Center (AFSC)." The report states that "injured employees did not timely report 39 percent of mishaps reviewed, and safety offices reported mishaps to the AFSC, on average, 21 days late." Many of these mishaps are relatively minor, but Air Force rules require timely reporting.
In addition, safety officials failed to adequately analyze mishap trends and whether or not safety programs were effective.
Interesting nugget: "During FY08, the Air Force lost 50 Airmen and almost 35,000 workdays due to preventable mishaps, with motorcycle accidents causing 15 of the 50 fatalities."
Nick Schwellenbach is POGO's Director of Investigations.