Airside at an airport is a high-risk working environment and one where safety must be a primary consideration for all who work there. At large airports especially, the apron can be a busy and often highly dangerous place of work. Personnel, passengers and aircraft are at risk from the movement and operation of both aircraft and ground vehicles, making it imperative that rules and regulations, including those around airside protective clothing and Personal Protective Equipment, are strictly adhered to at all times, by everyone.
Airside hazards and safety requirements
There are many hazards to working airside but among the most common are:
- Vehicles striking aircraft and/or people
- Moving aircraft (including aircraft on pushback or being towed)
- Live aircraft engines (including helicopters)
- Falls and falling objects
- Operation of airbridges
- Manual handling
- Hazardous substances and dangerous goods (including radioactive substances)
- Inadequate lighting, glare or confusing lights
- Adverse weather conditions (including winter operations)
- Slips and trips
- Electrical hazards
But whose responsibility is it to maintain the safest possible working environment for airport ground services staff? According to the Civil Aviation Authority, “the duty of employers and the self-employed is to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of any individual who might be affected by any work activity within their control. These people might include employees, members of the public, contractors, visitors and other aerodrome users”.
Employers’ safety responsibilities
Employers must raise awareness of the hazards and risks, put the right control measures in place, enforce the relevant legislation and ensure staff receive the correct training in order to carry out their work safely and correctly.
Dealing effectively with these hazards requires good management of aircraft safety and occupational health and safety.
However, in addition, co-operation and co-ordination is essential between the aerodrome operator, ground handlers, airlines and other aerodrome users, such as maintenance contractors.
Although airside ground services employers have a key responsibility to keep their staff and others safe, that does negate the individual employee from taking reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of anyone who might be affected by what they do.
Employees’ safety responsibilities
Individual airside ground services staff can, and should, do a lot to ensure his or her own airside safety. Wearing the correct Personal Protective Equipment, for example, plays a major part.
High visibility protective clothing must always be worn when operating in an airside environment and should be kept clean and fastened at all times.
Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment must be worn at all times and it is also recommended that adequate hearing protection be carried for when it becomes noisy.
In addition, it’s vital that individuals practice common sense, by using designated walkways, being aware of what’s going on around them, looking out for trip hazards and ensuring familiarity with the area in which they are working.
Airside safety is not the responsibility of any single employee, manager, company or authority – it is the responsibility of anyone and everyone who works airside
Contego Aviation Solutions is your one-stop manufacturer, supplier and distributor of safety clothing and PPE equipment for the aviation industry and more. As part of Contego Safety Solutions, Contego Aviation Solutions is the aviation industry protective clothing and equipment supplier that can offer it all.
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