GSE can overcome the Dirty Dozen

20 April 2017
SafeSmart Access trolley for storing wheel chocks and safety cones. Source: SafeSmart Access

Mastery of human factors is essential for support personnel to minimise incidents and accidents related to ramp-handling and other activities near aircraft.

In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Safety Team identified 12 common causes of human factors errors, labelling them the 'Dirty Dozen'. The FAA calculates that these human errors account for about 80% of all workplace mistakes at US airports.

Issues such as fatigue, stress, distractions, and poor communications can be defeated through ground support equipment (GSE) technology that can help prevent accidents in hangars and on the ramp.

Recent innovations in the United States include a collision-avoidance system to protect parked aircraft from costly damage; ergonomic safety ladders to increase worker efficiency and reduce injuries; and a simple trolley to reduce tripping hazards.

Damage to aircraft hit by GSE can be costly and puts ground-handlers in danger, so Bailey Specialty Cranes & Aerials, located in Muskego, Wisconsin, developed collision-avoidance systems that can be installed on scissor-lift maintenance platforms and boom lifts in place of padded bumper systems.

The device is similar to collision-avoidance systems that are a common optional feature in cars. It provides protection fields that adjust as the lift extends and retracts. The core component is a laser array that can be programmed to scan a specific area, sounding an alarm to stop machine operation when anything enters the protected area. The range of the scanner extends above the operator, to warn or stop operation before a potential head impact.

LockNClimb of Independence, Kansas, believes nothing promotes safety among maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) technicians better than providing them with ergonomic safety ladders, which have been proven to increase efficiency and reduce injuries.

Falls from height cause almost 700 workplace deaths annually in the United States, and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) believes 100% of all ladder accidents could be prevented if proper attention to equipment and climber training was provided.

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