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15 · Ground equipment is driven into aircraft, In an interview with Ground Support Worldwide, Delta's · Unmanned equipment rolls into aircraft, former Director of Safety and Ground Support, Jim Swartz, · Hangar doors closed onto aircraft, identified six drivers of safety on airport aprons that have to · Position of aircraft component changes, be balanced: · Center of gravity shifts, · Aircraft rolls forward/backward, 1. Financial or business piece, · Towing vehicle strikes aircraft, 2. Customer service element, · Aircraft is not properly configured for towing, 3. The regulatory driver (EPA, FAA, NTSB, DOT, NFPA, · Aircraft contacts object/equipment, and OSHA), · Aircraft contacts moveable object/equipment (Wenner 4. The work process, and Drury 2000). 5. Innovation/technology applied to the business, and 6. Moral leadership (Garetson 2008). A source of error that can result in an accident or incident is a failure to properly cooperate and coordinate activities Piotrowicz et al. (2002) determined that the most effec- during aircraft operations. The Health and Safety Executive tive approach to ramp human factors skills assessment is of the United Kingdom points to three key elements that must behavioral assessment, as compared with cognitive assess- be accomplished to help reduce the risk of accident, incident, ment. One suggestion made to improve ramp safety is to or injury on the ramp: include lost-time injury rates in a manager's performance assessment. Although lost-time injuries are not considered 1. Ensure cooperation and coordination among employees; an accurate barometer of safety on a ramp, making a ramp 2. Proper control of the various operators; and manager or supervisor accountable for safety performance 3. The proper assessment and control of the risks indi- better ensures a focus on safe operations, as compared with viduals are exposed to. being evaluated on on-time performance (CASA 2002). Examples of these three key aspects are: Ek and Akelsson (2007) studied the safety culture of a ground handling company at a Swedish airport and came away · The establishment of an Airside Safety Committee; with these suggestions for improvement: (1) provide anony- · The establishment and enforcement of airport rules and mous distribution of anomaly reporting forms, (2) provide agreements; education in the area of human error, (3) provide education · The proper design of the ramp layout to accommodate about the importance of having a safety culture with continu- the different types of operation and levels of activity; and ous improvement, and (4) perform proactive risk analyses. · Utilizing various safety recommendations from regula- tors, aircraft manufacturers, and industry trade groups (Health and Safety Executive 2000). COSTS OF ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS SAFETY CULTURE The FSF has estimated that ground accidents worldwide cost air carriers $10 billion annually. These accidents affect air- A number of articles point toward the need for a proper safety port operations and result in personnel injuries and damage culture or safety climate to exist within an organization to to aircraft, facilities, and ground-support equipment. IATA reduce accidents. Cabrera et al. (1997) suggested that safety climate can be an optimum indicator in evaluating SMSs as estimated that the annual cost of ground damage accidents in well as change-oriented programs. Safety attitude of man- 2008 was $4 billion for the airline industry and $1 billion for agement, efficient performance feedback, well-designed and corporate aircraft operations; a total of 17% of all accidents developed motivation strategies, the existence of an adequate in 2008 (Werfelman 2009). decision process, company philosophy toward safety as a pri- ority, optimum upward and downward communication, and A recent U.S. survey showed that the average direct cost a good reporting system have been identified since the early of a ramp damage incident for narrow-body aircraft is U.S. 1990s as being components of a safe organization. Company $75,000, and that indirect costs can reach $230,000 for a policies toward safety, emphasis on training or general safety narrow-body and $425,000 for wide-body aircraft (CASA strategies, and risk perception are several of the identified 2002). Activities in the ramp area can also affect the safety dimensions that promote a safe organizational operating en- of air crew and passengers once they leave the ramp area. vironment. Work motivation is one of the more powerful Undetected aircraft damage from ramp activities can cause psychosocial processes that can have a positive impact on in-flight emergencies; for example, in December 2005 an promoting safe behaviors (Cabrera et al. 1997). Hayward Alaska Airlines MD-80 that had departed from Seattle en route (1997) noted that airline ramp employees at a large airport to Burbank, California, experienced a sudden cabin depres- base may be very different in terms of their sub-cultural atti- surization. After the aircraft safely returned to Seattle, it was tudinal and behavioral norms from those at a regional airport, discovered that a ramp vehicle had punctured the aircraft even though they work in the same industry, for the same car- fuselage, but the incident had not been reported (Sullivan and rier, in the same job category. Allison 2005).
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16 In a study conducted by Boeing Commercial Airplanes TABLE 12 Group and cited by CASA (2002), for typical targets for TYPICAL "RAMP RASH" COSTS "ramp rash" the average direct costs of repair or replacement Repair/Replacement Part Costs are presented in Table 12. Elevator assembly $264,708 Inboard flap assembly $224,872 Leading edge slat assembly $52,863 Ramp accidents are a high-cost item for airlines and air- Wingtip assembly $28,872 ports in personnel injuries and death, and in damage to equip- Outboard flap assembly $255,845 ment. A FSF review of ramp operations suggested a lack of Inlet cowl $329,203 Main entry door $171,220 overall consistency in standards, operating practices, and Radome $19,712 management as early as 1993. The review goes on to recom- Cargo door $58,327 mend safety audits and voluntary, confidential, and nonpuni- Aileron and tab assembly $183,545 tive safety reporting systems as being actions to pursue for Source: Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group, safe operations (Enders 1993). CASA (2002).