Airports, and airside aprons in particular, are busy and demanding spaces that boast a number of potential hazards. With high numbers of passengers, personnel and vehicle traffic, the chance for an incident is high. While the Civil Aviation Authority is in charge of airport safety as far as determining policy, airport safety is everyone’s responsibility, and it is the airport owners and senior staff that oversee incidents on a day-to-day basis.  Here, we’ll look at the importance of identifying and risk assessing hazards in the airside spaces and cover ways to reduce airside risk.

Identify hazards

When looking to mitigate risk, identifying hazards should always be the first step. All airports will differ, of course, and steps should be taken to personalise any hazard identification procedures, but this is a good place to start: 

  • Interview personnel – your airside staff are at the front-line of the process and will be able to identify problematic areas. Find out where they feel significant risks lie.
  • Consult the experts – aviation companies like AIRDAT who specialise in airport safety, training and consultancy will have worked with multiple airports and have a wide understanding of potential risk.
  • Keep up with industry news and incidents – aviation has unique risks, keep an eye out for incidents, hazards and accidents that occur elsewhere and could affect you.

Carry out detailed airside risk assessments

A risk management plan is a safety net for the future. By implementing a plan and seeking to firstly, minimise the likelihood of damaging incidents occurring, and secondly, minimise associated consequences and costs, Airports can protect their business, staff and customers. The ability to understand and control potential risks gives a business a greater insight into where the flaws lie within their day-to-day processes.

AIRDAT has a dedicated Risk & Audit team that will help you to create bespoke risk assessments for your airport operation. All risk assessors are EASA/IOSH/RTITB approved auditors and will carry out flexible consultations to suit your needs. You’ll be guided through preparation, submission, audit and renewal to ensure your organisation is compliant and ready for potential audits.

Find out more about our risk assessment support service

Examine current procedures 

Any place of work will have vulnerabilities, these are areas of weakness where your airport may be susceptible to incident. Assess the areas most at risk of hazard and examine what procedures and policies you currently have in place. Could your staff benefit from additional training? Could your day-to-day practices benefit from outside support? 

Ensure staff are fully trained

Once hazards have been identified, it’s the job of senior airport personnel to determine how to mitigate serious risks. Identify the training that is most suitable and relevant to your workforce. It goes without saying that there will be regular training required by law for certain roles but there are additional forms of training that could help staff at highest risk to do their job to the best of their ability.

For example, at AIRDAT, we offer a course that educates about the risks of driving airside at night. Airside driving is potentially problematic during the day and the hazards are even higher (so much so that the Department for Transport is looking to ban drivers with less than a year’s experience) when driving at night. Our e-learning course prepares drivers for this unique skill.

Find out more about the driving at night course

Ensure all documentation is in place

If a serious incident or breach of health or safety occurs within an airport, the relevant authorities will first determine whether all appropriate documentation is in place for the airport and the staff involved. To avoid costly litigation, it’s vital that all paperwork is in place and your airport is fully compliant with all Civil Aviation Publications and standards.

AIRDAT work to take the difficulty out of airport compliance. Our Passport Airport Safety System can work in conjunction with the ORAT process,  bringing all airport data together and making compliance a breeze. Reporting managers can easily access and illustrate compliance in training, permits, policies and risk assessment which proves invaluable in the event of an airside incident. And, for added ease, all of this data will be available at the touch of a button if you use the VISA airside safety app. The intuitive, easy-to-use and cloud-based app records all driver training and vehicle information and will notify relevant personnel of any defects or penalty notices issued

The final word

In short, reducing airside risk is eminently possible if you carry out the right procedures ahead of time. Working with an external company who are world-leaders in airport systems and training could be a huge benefit and at AIRDAT we offer a range of services and systems to ensure that your airport is ticking every box to minimise the risk airside. With 8,000 aviation organisations supported and a 100% airport renewal rate, you can feel safe that whatever problem you encounter, we’ve successfully assisted your colleagues in solving something similar.

Get in touch to find out how we can help you to reduce your risk of airside incidents.