Fighting fatigue helps Team V member win AFSPC safety award

Staff Sgt. Megan Cerney, 614th Air Operations Center space analyst, was recognized as the 2015 Air Force Space Command unit safety representative of the year.

Staff Sgt. Megan Cerney, 614th Air Operations Center space analyst, was recognized as the 2015 Air Force Space Command unit safety representative of the year.

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Staff Sgt. Megan Cerney, 614th Air Operations Center space analyst, was recognized as the 2015 Air Force Space Command unit safety representative of the year, and one of her biggest contributions could have Team Vandenberg members resting easier.

Unit safety representatives at Vandenberg Air Force Base serve as a liaison between their respective units and the 30th Space Wing safety office, often assisting with training, distributing guidance, and maintaining safety standards and regulations. This position is typically an additional duty assigned to an individual within an organization with the expectation that they will be an effective conduit of safety information and guidance. The purpose of the AFSPC unit safety representative of the year award is to recognize those representatives who manage to go above and beyond these expectations, which leads back to Cerney.

Cerney was nominated from a pool of 104 unit safety representatives at Vandenberg AFB to compete for the AFSPC award. She has been a unit safety representative for the 614th AOC for nearly two years, balancing her safety duties with her work as a space analyst. During that time, the idea for a risk assessment study had been suggested to analyze the current 24/7 schedule of the space operators in the 614th AOC. As a unit safety representative, Cerney was in the perfect position to take the initiative and lay the groundwork for getting a study completed which would help gauge the risk of worker fatigue.

"The mindset that I've had from the beginning is not to give up on the study," said Cerney. "This is a short term challenge with a long lasting positive effect on the crew members. I knew our squadron could make a great impact and that is what we have focused on."

Overall, the process has taken about ten months of coordination and planning with Cerney helping spearhead the startup efforts. Her ability to help implement this study to increase worker safety and contribute to mishap prevention, a major criteria for the unit safety representative award, played a key role in her nomination and win of the AFSPC award.

Michael Trudeau, 30th Space Wing chief of occupational safety, said of Cerney's accomplishments, "Megan's work with her unit to study and determine work/rest cycles was notable and, when complete, will likely have impact to many AF personnel and organizations required to work 24/7."

Thanks in part to Cerney's efforts, a risk assessment survey of her fellow workers was completed Jan. 22, and once the results have been submitted and analyzed, recommendations will be made to the 614th AOC leadership on possible work schedule changes. Vandenberg is acting as a trial base for the work survey process, which may also be utilized at other AFSPC bases once the results are analyzed. As for Cerney, she looks forward to continuing her role as USR even after the work study project is complete.

"I did not think I would be working on this impactful project being a USR. Yes, it is an additional duty, but I wanted to make the program great for our commander and to better change the daily lives of our members."