Who knows more about what it takes to keep an airport ramp area accident-free
than those who work there everyday? That's the idea behind forming an Airport Ramp Safety Group to create a safer work
environment at airports.
An Airport Safety Group should
be a grassroots effort that brings together baggage handlers, fuel operators, airline and freight representatives, staff
from the FAA, Airport Operations, State Police, Fire Rescue and others familiar with the airfield. Each month,
the group will meet to identify potential hazards from their daily experience and brainstorm ways to neutralize those
It's a problem that airports
across the nation are taking more seriously. Industry-wide, experts estimate that the airlines lose more than $5 billion
a year to ramp damage, typically collisions between ground service vehicles and parked aircraft or jet ways. Because
accidents also result in cancelled flights, lost ticket revenue, added costs for passenger lodging, and overtime for repairs,
even minor ramp incidents can cost airlines $250,000 or more.
the Flight Safety Foundation estimates that for every dollar of aircraft damage, the actual cost to airlines is five times
that amount, or more. One airline reported that $77 million in aircraft damage from ramp operations resulted in about
$540 million in actual lost revenue.
say experts, are the number of ramp workers injured every year. At 14 in 100, the rate of injuries to ramp workers is
far higher than for many other industries. Human error is the primary cause of ramp accidents, says the International
Air Transport Association, where about 92% of incidents can be traced to failure to follow procedures, lack of adequate training,
and airfield congestion.
APS Chief of Operations, Jack
Kreckie, was the co-founder and Chairman of Boston Logan's Airport Safety Alliance. The Airport Safety Alliance is well
known and respected at Logan and airports across the country. Programs that raise awareness and help develop a Safety Culture
are imporant in the airport environment. Massport and their tenants at Boston Logan recognized this need and supported
this program. Their goal: "to prevent injuries and reduce the millions of dollars lost each year
to ramp damage."
likens the ramp safety effort to the nationwide focus on security that took place in response to the September 11 attacks.
"After 9/11, we all started thinking outside the box about what we can do to protect the airport," said
Kreckie. Similar imagination is needed to prevent damage and injuries that can occur daily on airport ramps.
Airports and travelers did a great job of developing and accepting the new security culture at airports. We need to find the same committment
to development of a safety culture thast is just as effective.
There are a number of target areas at Logan that were
spearheaded by Kreckie where significant improvement was seen.
A ramp lighting survey prompted a substantial investment
in lighting improvement, significantly increasing the safety of ramp operations at night.
mandatory reflective outerwear (vest) program was instituted, increasing visibility of ramp workers.
Safety Hotline, giving ramp workers a place to call in their issues and concerns around the clock, was initiated.
Alerts were published and distributed, highlighting cautions or lessons learned from accidents at airports around the country.
monthly newsletter, based on minutes from the monthly meeting and current issues, was distributed electronically to over 500 recipients around
An Annual Safety Fair / Safety Symposium was inaugurated, which attracted 700-900 ramp
participants annually for information and education.
Safety Partnerships were developed with airline tenants,
airport management, law enforcement, TSA, OSHA, The Construction Safety Roundtable, and a number of airlines and airports
around the country.
"Best Practices", a combination of the best ramp safety procedures from all
of the participating airlines, was developed and distributed.
Let APS Safety help your airport to develop a "Safety
Food for Thought A safety specialist from the United Kingdom Flight Safety Committee
stated the loss in terms almost everyone can understand: "Worldwide, the dollar equivalent of fifteen Boeing 747-400s
is lost each year to equipment damage during ramp operations."