ZIPP - Zero Injury Philosophy + Process

Aircraft Service International Group’s Zero Injury Philosophy + Process protects ramp workers with a comprehensive safety program, including daily safety observations.


  • Under the “General” category, for example, did the refueler properly show his airport ID outside his clothes?
  • Under the “Ergo” category, did the refueler use both hands to carry the hose?
  • Under the “PPE” category, did the refueler put on his chemical-resistant gloves?
  • Under the “Arrival” category, is the position of the refueler’s vehicle appropriate for the aircraft?
  • Under the “A/C Servicing” category, did the refueler inspect the fuel receptacle lugs prior to connecting his equipment?
  • Under the “Wrap-up” category, did the refueler observe the proper order for disconnecting his equipment?
  • Finally, under the “Depart” category, did the refueler complete a post walk-around?

As it turned out the refueler did do a good job, but still missed a few items. Afterward, we watched two videos labeled “Positive Feedback” and “Negative Feedback.”

In the positive video, the ramp manager starts out by first noting what the refueler did right. Protective vest. Check. Ear protection. Check. Safety glasses. Check.

“I appreciate that,” the manager says, “However, I did notice a few things we should work on.”

For one, the refueler failed to chock his cart. And he wasn’t wearing safety gloves; he’d left them on the cart. Finally, while he had an ID hanging around his neck, it was not visible. The manager wraps it up by asking if the refueler has any questions. Both walk away looking pleased.

On the other hand, 3 seconds into the negative feedback video, the ramp manager says: “What’s the matter with you, man. You didn’t have your gloves on. You didn’t have your cart chocked. And where’s your ID at? You know better than that! I don’t want to talk to you again about this.” Both turn away clearly disgusted with each other. In all, it took 15 seconds to ruin a hard-working, well-meaning ramp worker’s day.

“The way we set up this exercise is to have the observer use the checklist when watching the first video and mark down the safe and at-risk behaviors,” Keith adds. “Then we make sure we all witnessed the same things before we show the positive vs. negative feedback videos. It’s the same message with a different delivery – it makes quite an impression!”

SAFE data are all carefully analyzed and thanks to the company’s extensive computer database capabilities, station managers can very easily and very quickly see what’s going right and address what’s going wrong. More importantly, under ZIPP managers are strongly encouraged to ask for help right from the get-go.

“We’re not the safety police,” Keith says of his department. “I think of what we do as offering consulting services in safety. I work for the managers.”

ELIMINATING THE ‘GOTCHA’

Keith says one of the main lessons learned from the videos is “to eliminate the ‘gotcha.’” The SAFE’s direct observation and mentoring aspects should “focus less on discipline and more on direct mentoring and performance-improvement plans,” he says. “That’s the softer approach.”

That softer approach of SAFE may be doing its part in the overall ZIPP campaign. Each of BBA Aviation’s facilities uses the Recordable Incident Rate as a primary health and safety performance metric. RIR measures the number of full-time employees out of every 100 who sustain a recordable injury or illness.

A couple of years ago, BBA Aviation also added “near misses” to its list of reporting requirements. The near misses enabled ramp managers to focus on what “might” have happened and take a proactive approach to further improving safety.

According to BBA Aviation’s most recent Corporate and Social Responsibility Report, the group-wide RIR at the end of 2010 was 3.25, a reduction of 22 percent from 2009 – and the lowest rate since the corporate parent started monitoring progress under ZIPP.

What’s more, 124 out of 211 reporting locations achieved an RIR of zero in 2010, including a particularly large ASIG operation at McCarren International Airport in Las Vegas.

“The fact that more than half of our locations can get the RIR down to zero is proof that it can happen,” Keith says.

What might those “zero” locations be doing differently?

“In our business, it’s all about boots on the ground,” Keith explains. Management teams at these zero-RIR sites maintain a visible presence on the ramp.

And even when not on the ramp, Keith says managers lead by example, hold regular meetings, have open door policies for communications and fairly administrate discipline.

And the most critical difference might be the easiest of them all.

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