However, recent spot checks suggest that many operators are unaware of the risk and therefore have not taken precautions to prevent dangerous concentrations of CO (NIOSH, 1984). This could prove to be fatal.
When employees are around aircraft it is important to practice the utmost safety, in order to ensure the safety of the ground crew, the people are on board of the aircraft, and all other employees involved in the handling of the flight line. Individuals must watch and listen for newly arriving or passing aircraft. If driving, employees must keep a proper distance from the aircraft and drive slowly, at 5 miles per hour only (AFOSH, 2003). Caution must also be taken with forklifts and k-loaders, as they must be lowered while aircraft is moving.
When working at night and around hazardous equipment, employees must utilize luminous wands, practice safe driving techniques, as those mentioned above, and use proper safety precautions when around hazardous materials. Many airline workers may be unaware of the potential hazards in their work environment, which makes them more vulnerable to injury. Hazards to keep in mind that can become safety risks are those such as: baggage handling, controlling carbon dioxide levels, electrocution, vehicle injuries, ramp operation incidents, disruptive passengers, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), to name a few (OSHA hazards and solutions, 2005).
Baggage handling can cause back injuries. Many times employees lift heavy baggage, which can eventually take its toll on airline workers. In addition, electrocution can occur on the flight line. For example, one man got electrocuted while he repaired airport runway lights. He was a 54-year-old certified electrician of an electrical contracting company. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), SARS is a viral respiratory illness caused by a corona virus, called SARS-associated corona virus (SARS-CoV). SARS was first reported in Asia in 2003. Over the next few months the illness spread to more than two dozen countries in North America, South America, Europe and Asia, before the SARS global outbreak of 2003 was contained (CDC, 2005). This disease is important for airline employees to become aware of and to learn proper safety measures to assist in avoiding such a disease from occurring, as it can be fatal.
Personal Safety Equipment (PSE) are very important to use when on the flight line. For example, employees working on a flight line normally, use goggles, for eye protection, if needed, they wear ear pieces or headphones to block the harmful loud noises planes can cause; in some instances, depending on the job position they have, they may use a mask or ventilator to protect themselves from inhaling fumes of fuel or oil.
Maintenance standards are important to maintain around the flight line and when aircraft are present or arriving. For example, exit routes must be maintained and kept free of explosive or highly flammable furnishings or decorations. There should be safeguards in place designed to protect employees during an emergency (e.g. sprinkler systems, alarm systems, fire doors, exit lighting) and they must be in proper working order at all times (OSHA maintenance, 2005).
There are some differences in regards to military and non-military flight line standards; however not many. The military do follow OSHA and FAA standards; however, there are some exceptions as mentioned earlier, when in certain instances, some equipment, systems, and operations are "uniquely military" (OSHA definitions, 2005). This means that they are unique to the national defense mission, such as military aircraft, ships, submarines, missiles, and missile sites, early warning systems, military space systems, artillery, tanks, and tactical vehicles; and excludes operations that are uniquely military as well, such as, field maneuvers, naval operations, military flight operations, associated research test and development activities, and actions required under emergency conditions (OSHA definitions, 2005). In addition to these the Air Force has a unique set of standards, which are the Air Force Safety Standards 91-100.
In conclusion, aircraft flight line safety procedures are important to an organization in the airline industry. Employers and employees, alike, must learn and implement the proper safety procedures in their particular workplace, so as to ensure proper safety procedures and to avoid any potential hazardous problems that may occur. Many employees working the flight line may be unaware of potential problems that could occur in their work environment. This is why education and implementation of these safety procedures and potential hazards are vital to the health and safety of employees and of those in and around their work environment. By educating, implementing, and practicing these safety procedures, airline employees are able to live a safe and healthy life.
AFOSH, Std 91-100 (2003). Retrieved June 20, 2005, from AFOSH Web site: http://www.hill.af.mil/safety/chklists/ChecklistIndex.htm
CDC (2005). Retrieved June 20, 2005, from CDC Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/sars/factsheet.htm
FAA (2005). Retrieved June 19, 2005, from FAA Web site: http://www.faa.gov/about/mission/activities/
NIOSH: Controlling carbon monoxide hazard in aircraft refueling operations (1984). Retrieved June 20, 2005, from NIOSH Web site: www.cdc.gov/niosh/84-106.html
OSHA (2005). Retrieved June 20, 2005, from OSHA Web site: http://www.osha.gov/index.html
OSHA Act of 1978, (2005). Retrieved June 20, 2005, from OSHA Web site: www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document-p_table=OSHACT&p_id=3359
OSHA baggage handling (2005). Retrieved June 20, 2005, from OSHS Web site: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/baggagehandling/ramp_manual.html
OSHA definitions, 1960.2(i), (2005). Retrieved June 19, 2005, from OSHA Web site: www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document-p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9698
OSHA hazards and solutions (2005). Retrieved June 20, 2005, from OSHA Web site: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/airline_industry/hazards.html
OSHA measuring exposure (2005). Retrieved June 20, 2005, from OSHA Web site: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/noisehearingconservation/exposure.html
OSHA maintenance (2005). Retrieved June 20, 2005, from OSHS Web site: www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document-p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9725
OSHA standards, Section 5(a)(1) and Section 5(a)(2) (2005). Retrieved June 20, from OSHA Web site: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/airline_industry/standards.html