Ensuring high standards to protect the personal safety of staff who work airside is imperative. The Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) guidance for implementing successful Safety Management Systems (SMS), for industry organisations to achieve a robust safety strategy, recommends four steps to create an airside safety culture, with elements within each step to obtain a best practice approach.
Here, we provide an outline on the four steps to creating an airside safety culture:
Step 1: Set safety policies and objectives
Airside health and safety challenges are complex, with many and varied hazards particular only to those working airside. The first step in the CAA’s Safety Management System outlines how organisations must establish a commitment and responsibility to safety policy, identifying key safety accountabilities and appointing dedicated safety staff. At this stage, coordination of emergency response planning must be laid out and SMS documentation put into place.
Step 2: Establish risk management processes
Once policies and objectives are established, the key safety management team should set up processes for identifying hazards and risk assessments. Risk assessments stipulating what PPE is required by staff working in the different airside departments should be incorporated, to ensure staff are appropriately equipped with the right protection for their specific roles, whether that’s protection against fire, head protection, protection against chemicals or noise protection.
Step 3: Adopt continual safety assurances
Continuous improvement is imperative to maintain a safety-driven culture. To ensure a safety strategy remains relevant, continual monitoring, measurement and reviews should take place. This includes safety culture surveys to identify the behaviours and attitudes of staff that could be impacting safety performance; assess whether staff are correctly using their personal protective equipment and looking after PPE properly; and understand whether they are engaged with the organisation’s safety policies. These surveys are also a great opportunity to ask where they believe improvements should be made.
Step 4: Implement safety training and education
Dedicated training is the opportunity to establish behaviours and attitudes and embed safety policies, ensuring there is a shared sense of responsibility for airside safety. Appropriate and differentiated safety education is essential, tailored to staff according to whether they work on the ramp or elsewhere in ground ops, to make sure training is engaging and relevant. This includes training staff to maintain and use their PPE properly. Ensuring staff know how and when to reorder PPE means never running out of the essential equipment that protects workers against hazards on the ramp, or when de-icing and refuelling. Using Contego’s online management tool, it’s possible to predict demand for the coming months, so you are ready for seasonal changes and prepared for any safety challenges ahead.
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