Airport employees who work on the tarmac need to be alert and observant at all times to promote airport tarmac safety for all. There are several things to take into account when you are working.
The Number One Rule
The number one rule on the tarmac is that aircrafts always have the right of way. When aircrafts are moving or being towed by a vehicle, they are moving at a slow speed. However, keep in mind that because of the sheer weight of the aircraft, it can’t stop suddenly, but requires distance to come to a complete stop. At times, a pilot may have an unclear view of the tarmac. The best measure you can take is to never drive any type of vehicle or walk in front of an aircraft at any point in time. Instead, allow the aircraft to move past you before you cross the tarmac behind it.
Watch for Moving Vehicles
Any type of moving vehicles should be observed closely. This includes mobile aircraft steps, baggage trucks, trucks towing aircrafts, fuel tankers and any emergency vehicles. The tarmac can be a quite noisy area with the sounds from aircrafts, so you may not hear a vehicle approaching at all times. Some of the vehicles on the tarmac may be electrically powered, so you won’t hear them at all. You should keep alert and listen while looking in all directions for any movement to avoid being struck by a vehicle on the tarmac. This is especially important when you are coming out of a building or shed and make certain you are wearing your high visibility clothing so you can be seen by the drivers of vehicles. Always use the walkways that are designated by markings on the ground and remember that vehicles may have a need to cross into the designated walkways on occasion if they are in a tight spot.
Avoid the Ingestion Zone
The ingestion zone of a jet engine is the area that creates suction in the front of the engine and to its side when it is running. This is a lethal area and you can be sucked into it with great force. Never approach an aircraft engine or propellers from the front or rear. At times, you may not be able to see propellers are turning or the engine may be starting as you approach. Good airport tarmac safety procedures note that you should approach an aircraft from the side and far away from the engines. If conditions exist that you must walk around an aircraft, walk behind an aircraft with propellers or in front of a jet engine to avoid mishaps.
Avoid Slips and Falls
Always keep in mind that a tarmac is a very smooth surface. When it rains or it is icy, it can be very slippery. In addition, there could be small fuel or oil spills which you need to try to avoid due to a slip and fall hazard.
These are the most important hazards to watch for when you work on an airport tarmac. Being alert at all times can help you to be safe while on the job.