Hitting the Safety Jackpot
Developing a culture of airport ramp safety, though not a new topic to the industry, has certainly had resurgence in the past couple of years and it's generally agreed that safe operations begin and end with the proper attitude. Since PrimeFlight's implementation of their Employee Safety Program, designed to encourage and reward excellence in practicing safety on the job, there has been a significant reduction in lost time due to worker's compensation injuries, an increase in accident reporting, a boost in employee morale and a renewed commitment to creating a safer workplace. "We are very safety focused," says Wolken. "We have hazardous material training and monthly safety meetings because in the end safety drives the cost of doing business."
The Employee Safety Program combines three components which include Safety Talks, the Safety Jackpot Game and the Safety Grand Prize Drawing. The first component, Safety Talks is a monthly session conducted by an on-site manager which features subjects that have an impact on workplace safety. Safety Jackpot, the second component, is a scratch game card with a point system where accumulated points can be redeemed for merchandise. Employees at each location earn three monthly game cards if that location doesn't have lost time workers compensation injury, property damage claims and conducts the monthly Safety Talk. The final component is the Grand Prize Drawing incentive with a choice of a new car or $15,000 in cash, which Wolken proudly announced was won by a PrimeFlight employee last year. Eligibility requirements are stringent. The location where the winner works needs to have conducted all Safety Talk meetings, have no more than one lost time work comp injury and property damage below the facility limit for the year.
"PrimeFlight has been doing our ground handling since November 2002," reports Al Greggoire, station manager at Delta Airlines in San Antonio, TX. "They are doing an outstanding job. On an evaluation that was completed for June, they scored a 99.17 out of a possible 100 which is absolutely incredible. The thing that has most impressed me is their concern for safety. Part of that is to make sure we keep our equipment in excellent condition; working well, taking out of service what's not working well and calling time out whenever safety is not at 100 percent so that everyone can regroup and move forward in a safe manner."
Airport ramp operations consist of a community of individuals where attitude, successful working relationships and safety training are paramount. Providing employees with positive leadership and incentives to perform these tasks with precision is, according to PrimeFlight, the crux to ensuring a safer ramp environment.
Tuning into the Future
Within their current menu of services, PrimeFlight's goal is to maintain their flexibility as a company and to make sure they continue to adapt to the changing needs of each customer. "If we see something coming down the road that our customers need or if there is a change in the way of doing business that we need to embrace, then we are going to look to do that," says Wolken. "We just need to be in tune with what's going on and what they are looking for." PrimeFlight has targeted expansion in 45 airports this year alone.
If the natural progression is to outsource more ground handling activities as Wolken believes is the case, then PrimeFlight's fundamental philosophy of strong leadership, customer awareness, specialized service and safety will certainly move them toward their goal of being in every airport they can be across the country.