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RAMP SAFETY PRACTICES SUMMARY An airport ramp is an area where aircraft, equipment, service providers, flight crews, and pas- sengers converge. Coordination of multiple activities for flight arrivals and departures involv- ing a variety of services is often complex, concurrent, and crowded. Efficient and rapid gate turns, which equate to cost savings for airlines, contribute to the hectic and demanding pace of ramp operations. Passenger guarantees for baggage claim services, flight on-time perfor- mance, and other promotional programs further increase the risk of ramp accidents and inci- dents. Owing to the level of aircraft activity, the complexity of work tasks, and the equipment used in servicing aircraft, ramp workers can face a variety of hazards. A 2000 analysis of accident rates in the airport industry by the Health and Safety Executive, an independent watchdog organization of work-related health, safety, and illness in the United Kingdom, identified that the accident rates for ground handling and airport workers exceed those of the construction industry and the agricultural sector. Airports, airlines, and ground service providers (GSPs) participate in individual and col- laborative roles to ensure the safe and efficient operations on the ramp. At this time, no for- mal U.S. regulatory requirement is in place for airport ramp oversight. Ramp operations are inherently dangerous because they include confined areas, rapid gate turns, various equip- ment interacting with the aircraft, weather conditions, and human factors such as fatigue and lack of situational awareness. Each airport manages the ramp area through lease and license agreements and has a degree of oversight through the enforcement of rules and regulations and safety violation or citation programs. Airports require airside driver training, but typi- cally do not offer or require centralized safety awareness or ramp safety training to tenants or airport staff. A variety of industry guides and handbooks are available that provide operational and training information for ramp ground operations. Additionally, most airlines and GSPs have developed customized training curriculum for both classroom and on-the-job training programs as part of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121 requirements, yet accidents and incidents continue to occur. The increasing number of accidents and incidents is further documented in the Airports Council International (ACI) Apron Safety Survey. From 2006 to 2007, the total number of accidents and incidents reported by 158 airports showed a 15% increase, or a total of 3,026 incidents and accidents in 2007 compared with 2,623 in 2006. Based on the total number of aircraft movements documented in 2007 (12,360,425), the rate of incidents and accidents per 1,000 movements would result in 0.245, or approximately one incident per 4,084 movements. Correspondingly, the cost to air carriers from equipment damage and staff injuries is increasing each year. The Flight Safety Foundation has estimated that ground accidents cost as much as $10 billion annually in direct and indirect costs such as loss of reputation, impacts to schedules and passengers, hiring and retraining new staff to replace injured individuals, insurance costs for staff and operations, repairs, parts, and staff time to complete and test repairs. In 2004, the International Civil Aviation Organization responded to industry concerns about safe operating procedures on airport ramps by incorporating ramp safety into Annex 14
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2 Aerodromes and its safety management system (SMS) requirement. The FAA addresses safe airport operations under 14 CFR Part 139. A Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), issued October 7, 2010, outlines the possibility of amending 14 CFR Part 139 to include SMS on non-movement areas such as ramps. On February 1, 2011, the FAA issued an NPRM entitled Safety Enhancements Part 139, Certification of Airports. The NPRM states that "The FAA proposes to amend the airport cer- tification standards in Part 139 and would establish minimum standards for training of per- sonnel who access the airport non-movement area (ramp and apron) to help prevent accidents and incidents in that area." The FAA further defines the basis of this proposed change by con- cluding that "non-movement area safety can be improved with increased training. Airport workers must be knowledgeable and aware of the various activities that take place in the non- movement area. This knowledge and awareness reduces confusion and carelessness . . ." Areas of training suggested include airport familiarization, markings, signs, ramp access pro- cedures, high visibility clothing, cautious driving and speed awareness, foreign object dam- age, fire prevention, reporting accidents and incidents, aircraft right-of-way, propeller and jet intake hazards, and other airport-specific safety training items. Airports, airlines, and GSPs face possible changes to the way the FAA and the aviation industry plan to manage the non-movement areas at U.S. airports. If the two NPRMs cited earlier provide insights into the future of ramp safety management, stakeholder integration and collaboration may become part of a formal and regulated national program. As an area of interest and concern to the aviation industry this Ramp Safety Synthesis Study was conducted to identify and describe the current state of ground handling practices, focusing on safety measures used at airports. The target audience for this report is airport operators, airlines, and ground handlers. The approach for this study included both academic review and a survey instrument. Through the use of a set of three synthesis study surveys con- taining 25 to 26 questions each, this report presents individual and collective responses from airports, airlines, and GSPs. The surveys were designed to collect and review information on ramp safety operations, staff roles and responsibilities, safety training, audit and inspection programs, safety violation programs, and collaborative safety initiatives, such as foreign object debris programs. Of the 48 surveys distributed, 40 responses were received for a response rate of 83%. Additional information for this study was collected as part of a litera- ture search and supplemented with airline, airport, and GSP program and training documen- tation. One representative each of the airline, airport, and GSP respondents was interviewed, by phone or in person, using an additional list of questions, to further investigate or clarify responses from the primary survey group. As a summary of findings, the combined review, survey results, and interviews collected from this study provide a snapshot of the current ramp area safety issues, operations, and prac- tices in the United States. Generally, the findings focused on the following key conclusions: · Airport ramp areas are complex regardless of airport size or configuration. · No comprehensive U.S. standards exist with regard to non-movement area ramp mark- ings, ground operations, or safety training. · Ramps are inherently dangerous (based on accident and incident data), but no data repository exists that presents a complete analysis of accident types, root causes, and trends to demonstrate mitigation successes (such as training). · Airlines and GSPs surveyed typically individualize training programs to meet or exceed 14 CFR Part 121 and Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulatory require- ments and introduce various levels of safety programs such as audits and inspections. · Airports, airlines, and GSPs have various roles and responsibilities depending on air- port contractual and operational agreements. · Various FAA, industry, and technology safety initiatives are underway.