Safety on the ramp (

March 13, 2014

Chris Kaminski, deputy director, risk manager and expert on workplace safety at Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA), which manages Detroit Metropolitan Airport and Willow Run Airport, likens the airport ramp to a beehive, with vehicles and people constantly flitting to and fro.

Not only is the ramp a complex area, he says, but it is becoming even more so, given the level of sub-contracting that now goes on in the airline industry. He explains: “You have so many hands in the pot now, it is very complex deciding who is responsible for what.”

Surprisingly, perhaps, there is little uniformity in safety standards within the US, let alone the rest of the world. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does issue advisory circulars but there has been little done to specifically impose safety standards in the ramp area. However, Washington is now pondering legislation that would put in place new Safety Management Systems and this has been the spur for an initiative by WCAA to introduce a system to report all airfield incidents through new quarterly executive stakeholder meetings. The object of these, Kaminski explains, is to log every incident, not just those that directly concern the airport authority.

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