“We’re go. Hang tight, we’re go.” With these words, Neil Armstrong, Commander of the Apollo 11 mission, piloted the lunar module Eagle to an historic touch-down on the chalky gray surface of the moon. As Americans, we take pride in the Apollo moon shots. The astronauts of Apollo 11 and 12 will be remembered for their remarkable feats as long as there are history books.
But there is something else the moon shots will be remembered for–they represent one of the largest, most complicated safety programs ever launched in the world. The safe lunar voyage of the astronauts, or their return when things didn’t go according to plans, was the most vital concern of the hundreds of technicians, engineers, scientists, and others who worked behind the scenes to make the launches possible.
The entire Apollo crew worked as a team. Each person, from the assembly line worker who fitted components in the vital retro-rocket re-entry system, to the designer, from the doctors who guarded the health of the astronauts, to the security personnel who guarded the gates of NASA; each person worked together contributing ideas and helping each other over the rough spots.
Uppermost in each of their minds was the idea that the astronauts must be safe, regardless of what happened.
- They must have a safe lift-off from Cape Kennedy.
- And a safe lunar landing and return to Earth.
- Finally, the astronauts must be quarantined to protect the public from any bacteria they might pick up from the moon’s surface or in space itself.
Safety is important to the space program and even more important right here where we work. Nothing less than the future of your family is at stake. They are counting on you to provide food and shelter, and an on-the-job accident could very easily disable you and leave security and future plans up in the air.
Teamwork is just as important to our own safety as it was to the safety of the Apollo astronauts. When people work together, participating and exchanging ideas, there’s no end to what they might accomplish. Even the sky isn’t the limit anymore, Apollo proved that. Together, we can get our own safety program off the ground.
How? By giving any ideas you may have on how things can be made safer. Any idea, no matter how insignificant it may seem to you, may prevent a serious accident that could mean the difference between happiness and misery for you and your family, or for one of your fellow workers.
If you are one of our seasoned employees, we can use your years of valuable experience to spot potential safety hazards. Look around.
- Can you see something that has caused an accident before or may cause one now?
- Is there a loose railing on the staircase? It could cause a serious fall that might cripple one of us for life.
- Is there a broken or defective plug on one of the electric tools. Electric shock, even a low voltage one, can be fatal.
- Poor lighting, broken chairs, sharp edges on furniture, slippery substances on the floor, these are all things that can cause accidents and should be reported to me.
If you are a new employee, you can be a valuable asset to our safety program, too. You may be able to spot something right away that an old pro may overlook. Potential dangers may be obvious to a new worker, one with a fresh approach, like you.
In short, safety takes teamwork – the kind of joint effort that launched the Apollo moon rocket and returned it safely to Earth; that kind of joint effort can effectively launch our safety program. So whatever your job statuses, whatever your duties are, keep your eyes open for safety ideas and report them to me. Like Apollo, let’s get our safety program off the ground.