Safety first at Fleet Air Arm

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Dallas McMaugh (author), LSCIS Hayley Maxwell (photographer)

Location(s): Nowra, New South Wales

Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn, RAN, welcomes attendees of the 2016 Fleet Air Arm Safety Stand Down, held at the Entertainment Centre, Nowra. (photo: LSCIS Hayley Maxwell)
Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn, RAN, welcomes attendees of the 2016 Fleet Air Arm Safety Stand Down, held at the Entertainment Centre, Nowra.

It was standing room only at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre for the recent Fleet Air Arm Safety Day, themed 'Trust in the Team'.

Fleet Aviation Safety Officer, Lieutenant Commander Jeffrey Topping, coordinated the day and said there were a number of programming considerations. 

“We always look for people who capture the audience’s interest and aim to invigorate healthy safety attitudes, hazard awareness and provoke thought on safety improvements that can be made within the individual’s workplace,” he said.

“This year we had presentations from Aviation Psychologist Dr Robert Fosterlee, rescue pilot Mr Jerry Grayson, head of the aviation psychology service within Army Forces Command, Lieutenant Colonel Martin Levey, 723 Squadron’s Quality Aviation Engineering Officer, Lieutenant Jason Hobbs and Antarctic expedition leader Mrs Rachael Robertson,” Lieutenant Commander Topping said.

The diversity of the speakers was matched by the audience, with every element of the Fleet Air Arm represented. 
HMAS Albatross Legal Officer, Lieutenant Commander Dominika Czaja said that for her, the day provided important “time out” for reflection and discussion. 

“We are an operational flying establishment where safety is paramount, so it was good to have that opportunity to focus on the issues raised regarding safety, trust and innovation and their importance at Albatross,” she said. 

Aviation Instructor, Lieutenant Damian Liberale also appreciated the focus the forum provided.

“Safety days are a good opportunity to pause from daily operations and refocus on pertinent issues that may affect individuals or units,” Lieutenant Liberale said.

“The collective, open nature of the event also allows us to pose questions and discuss issues raised in the presentations."
Albatross
 Command Safety Adviser, Mr Tony Kinnear said the most important factor was providing opportunity for communication across all ranks.

“The day reiterates the importance of each of us to communicate with honesty and truthfulness to enhance trust and improve our safety management system," he said.

“The take away from safety day is confidence. 

"Confidence that respective commands are aware of the pressures everyone is under and to hear firsthand that the contributions by all Fleet Air Arm workers and support agencies are valued and appreciated,” Mr Kinnear said.