This can also be termed “courtesy.” Consideration should be shown toward all employees working at any airport regardless of individual job function while driving in the AOA.
This is also one of the more important techniques of defensive driving in the airport ramp environment. Unlike driving on the public roads and highways, on an airport ramp few, if any, navigation aids exist.
The defensive driver does not need lane markings or other aids that drivers on public roads do. Becoming familiar with the servicing layout of different aircraft types and the difference between various airport gates and ramps, hangars and remote aircraft parking areas, will reduce the risk of a driving incident or accident.
The defensive driver needs to continually stay aware of what is happening on all sides of the vehicle. Because of the high noise levels on the ramp, your sense of hearing is limited as a warning device. By observing these five important driving techniques, operational threats and negative behavioral risks will be reduced.
Operational risk management limits distractions and helps maintain situational awareness; taking time to slow down when necessary will also help eliminate the mindset of operational performance pressures.
Keeping focus on all surrounding threats, including other employees, other aircraft and GSE (stationary or in motion) will help ensure your personal safety, and the safety of your fellow employees.
Part of growing safety culture at any organization is continually monitoring and assessing safety programs and encouraging front line employees to have a voice in the development and implementation of these programs. Constant safety communications to employees serve as effective reminders, but can also highlight important human factors elements that airline employees need to effectively manage.
As the saying goes…”Don’t take unnecessary risks, use operational risk management.”
Kevin P. Crowley, an analyst for ground safety programs, JetBlue Airways Corp., started on the ramp in Buffalo, NY, in 1993. He’s been with JetBlue for 12 years and began as an instructor at JetBlue University and taught aircraft servicing for the A320 and E190. He has additional experience in HAZMAT and dangerous goods; winter ops and deicing; and is a certified OHSA instructor.
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