10 tips for drivers operating on an airfield

Individuals who work on the ground at airports need to ensure that they are handling situations in a safe manner. The airlines and airports for which they work must provide them with a safe work environment. Many of these workers do their job duties across vast areas of the airfield.

Anyone who uses vehicles to get around the airfield, as well as those who might have to walk around in the area should understand some of the best practices that come with these jobs. Remembering these may help to keep everyone out of harm’s way:

  • Mind the markings that are around the airfield. This can help to prevent you from being run over by a moving airplane.
  • Pay attention to the location of airplane wings and engines that might extend beyond the movement areas of the airfield.
  • Carry a copy of the airport diagram in your vehicle so that you can always have a direction toward the facility where you need to go.
  • Contact air traffic control if you become disoriented or lost as you go about your duties.
  • Communicate using only established procedures and terminology when you’re discussing things related to the airfield.
  • Remember that pilots have a limited viewing area similar to a blind spot for a driver and might not be able to see you.
  • Yield to moving aircraft because there is a chance that the pilot can’t see you or is focused on other tasks like preflight checks.
  • Know where the hotspots are so you can be extra vigilant because these areas have an increased chance of safety critical incidents.
  • Never move on the airfield without having permission from air traffic control if you’re working at a towered airport.
  • Utilize more caution at night or when the weather isn’t clear because these are conditions that can lead to crashes.

Being involved in an accident on an airfield is traumatic. You can suffer catastrophic injuries, especially if the incident involves a moving airplane. Immediate medical care is often imperative; however, even emergency vehicles must get clearance from air traffic control at a towered airport before they move around the airfield. There is a potential that this could delay medical care.

Workers who suffer injuries while they are on the job should remember that workers’ compensation provides them with benefits to cover their medical care and potentially lost wages. Unfortunately, some workers have to fight to receive the benefits they are due. If you’re in this position, be sure you work with someone who is familiar with the ins and outs of these cases.

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