in Air Transport

Safety equipment can reduce the risk of airport accidents

Posted 11 December 2019 · Add Comment

Workplace injuries and costly damage to equipment could be eliminated with on-board safety systems for airport vehicles. Emily Hardy, a safety expert at Brigade Electronics UK, explains how technology can help.

Global air travel has never been more popular. More than four billion passengers take to the skies every year and at busy times, more than 200,000 flights are completed every day. Add to this the multi-billion pound cargo freight industry and it’s not surprising that airports are some of the busiest places in the world.

At any one time, an airport can host a variety of vehicles, including trucks carrying freight to load on to aircraft, baggage carts, catering trucks, passenger transport buses and heavy plant vehicles. These vehicles operate at all hours of the day and night, often in adverse weather conditions.

In the workplace, there are multiple hazards, from slips and trips to lifting injuries. One of the main risks is being struck by a vehicle. Indeed, nearly half of injuries at airports are caused by collisions with moving vehicles.

Concourse hazards

The types of accidents that can happen at airports include: 

        Pedestrians and objects being struck due to vehicle blind spots.

       Operation of electrically-powered vehicles is virtually silent, making it difficult for pedestrians to notice them approaching.

       Inability to see pedestrians/co-workers due to adverse weather and nighttime conditions.

       Reversing accidents.

       Workers wearing ear defenders unable to hear approaching vehicles.

       Pedestrians disorientated by multiple tonal vehicle alarms and/or tonal alarms masking the sound of other approaching vehicles.

On-board safety solutions

Advances in technology mean that all of the above situations could be prevented with on-board vehicle safety systems.

Since its invention in the 1970s, all large vehicles, such as lorries are required to emit a reversing alarming as a basic safety mechanism. However, research has shown that the traditional ‘tonal’ alarm many of us are accustomed to hearing is not always effective

Workers wearing ear defenders may not hear it and it’s difficult to discover which direction the sound is coming from. The new generation of reversing alarms include Brigade’s own White Sound® frequencies, which are easier to hear and dissipate quickly - vital for a bustling airport and ideal for all types of vehicles and equipment.

Radar detection systems can help to minimise damage and prevent injuries caused by collisions by alerting the driver to the distance between vehicles and obstacles, whether moving or stationary. Such technology is suitable for all conditions, including rain and snow, and is ideal for vehicles and large machinery manoeuvring at low speeds

Meanwhile, 360-degree cameras will completely eliminate the perennial problem of blind spots by providing a bird’s-eye view of the vehicle and its surroundings. This system can be used on a variety of airport vehicles, including vans, coaches and catering trucks.

As airports continue to get busier, safety remains a number one priority. By utilising the latest vehicle safety technology, operators will be making a positive to enhancing standards and minimising deaths and injuries.

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