Aviation Ground Handling Films Employees Lifting The Right Way

Ground handling is, for the most part, manual handling. And that manual work can take a toll on just about every part of a ramp worker’s body.

Queensland Airports Ltd., a regional airport specialist in its namesake state of Australia, took some of the burden off 110 ground handlers thanks to an instructional DVD that shows the right way to go about various ramp operations.

The company’s ground handling firm, Aviation Ground Handling, supplies a full range of ground support services for passenger, cargo and military aircraft at five airports located in the northeast of the country.

The workload can range from 15 flights a week for one airline for a staff of 12 at Townsville Airport to 110 flights a week for three airlines for a staff of 28 at Mackay Airport.

The DVD was the brainchild of Janelle Jamison, health, safety and rehabilitation officer for Queensland Airports Ltd., following her research into staff injuries. Incorrect manual handling was a contributing factor to a number of such injuries.

About 80 percent of Aviation Ground Handling workers are also cross-trained to switch from front-of-the house operations such as passenger check-in and ticketing services to the typically heavier work of ramp and cargo operations.

“We want a multi-skilled workforce since it provides more flexibility for the company and a more interesting working environment for employees,” says Melissa Pearce, communications manager for Queensland Airports Ltd. “This was one of the main reasons we developed the DVD since we knew we had a lot of area to cover and needed a quick and effective way to teach correct manual handling.”

Steve Bowman, Bowman Studios, a regular, international contributor to Ground Support Worldwide, filmed the 15-minute DVD on site featuring Aviation Ground Handling’s own employees.

To ensure credibility, Pearce told us the script was reviewed by Dr. Venerina Johnston, a lecturer in physiotherapy at The University of Queensland. Johnston, also a researcher with the university’s Centre for Clinical Research Excellence in Spinal Pain, Injury & Health, attended the filming to make sure correct manual handling techniques were used.

“It shows ground handling staff performing their roles and highlights ways they can improve their techniques,” says Richard Walters, general manager, Aviation Ground Handling. “The DVD also explains the risks associated with not following good manual handling techniques.”

Viewing the DVD, along with studying a resource booklet and taking an online test, is required for all staff.

“The DVD now forms part of our induction process for all new staff, as well as to ensure existing staff has also been educated in regard to the correct techniques,” Walters adds.

The manual handling DVD is actually one of three DVDs that Queensland Airports Ltd. produced last year. The other two were created for maintenance and administrative staff working at Gold Coast Airport.