Potential Hazards and Measures




Safety at the airside is everyone’s responsibility. Accidents such as ladder hazards,  a vehicle/aircraft. Stationary aircraft or dangerous goods in cargo, can endanger goods in cargo, can endanger human life, or cause invaluable damage to airside equipment, such potential hazards can occur at any airside.

Let us look at the potential hazards that an airside may experience, and the measures to counter them.


Stakeholders in Safety

The stakeholders involved in Civil Aviation safety are:

  • Aviation Professionals such as fight crew, cabin crew, Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs) and aircraft maintenance engineers (AMEs)
  • Aircraft owners and operators
  • Manufacturers (especially airframe and engine manufacturers)
  • Industry trade associations (Example – IATA, ATA and ACI)
  • International aviation organizations (Example – ICAO)
  • Investigation agencies
  • The flying public


Responsibilities of the State Administration

The State Administration is responsible for:

  1. Establishing and implementing the rules, regulations and procedures for safe and Efficient aviation, such as:
  • Personnel Licensing
  • Procedures for obtaining and renewing:
  • Operating Certificates
  • Airworthiness certificates
  • Airport Certifications
  • Operation of air traffic services
  • Conducting accident and incident investigations
  1. Implementing a system for safety oversight of the entire civil aviation system by Surveillance inspections and Safety audits.
  2. Carrying out enforcement actions as necessary
  3. Monitoring technological development and best industry practices to improve the State’s aviation systems performance.
  4. Maintaining a system of:
  • Aviation records
  • Licenses and certificates
  • Infractions
  • Reported accidents
  • Incidents
  1. Conducting analyses of Safety trends including accident / incident data and service difficulty reports
  2. Promoting safety through the dissemination of specific safety materials, conduction safety seminars.

Perception of Risk

The perception of risk can be derived from the following three broad categories:

  • Risks that are so high that they are unacceptable
  • Risks that are so low that they are acceptable
  • Risks in between the above two categories, where various trade-offs between risks and benefits must be considered.


Accident vs Incident

An accident is an occurrence during the operation of an aircraft which entails:

  • A fatality or serious injury
  • A substantial damage to the aircraft involving structural failure or requiring major repair
  • The aircraft is missing or is completely inaccessible
  • An Incident is an occurrence, associated with the operation of an aircraft which affects or could affect the safety of operation. A serious incident is an incident involving circumstance indicating that an accident nearly occurred.

The Context for accident and incident are:

1.Equipment design

2.Supporting Infrastructure

3.Human Factors

Potential Hazards

Various potential hazards can pop up at the Apron such as:

  • Vehicles striking aircraft or employees
  • Hazards to passengers on the apron
  • Step ladder hazards
  • Aircraft movement on push back or lowing
  • Aircraft engines(running)
  • Tripping or falling objects
  • Aerobridge operations
  • Manual handling hazards
  • Cargo hazards

The various reasons why potential hazards can pop-up at the Apron are:

  • Noise
  • Faulty work equipment
  • Dangerous goods in cargo and its improper packing causing
  • Spillage
  • Inadequate lighting, glares and confusing lights
  • Weather conditions such as snow, rain, ice-slippery conditions,
  • Strong winds, poor visibility and so on
  • Electrical hazards
  • Faults and defects
  • Littering at the Apron
  • Bird hit or Animal hit

Bird Hit or Animal Hit

The problem of aircraft collision with birds and stray animals on the runways is a serious one. Birds are ingested by the engines which can lead to the following:

  • Destroy or set the engine on fire leading to explosion
  • Collapse of the landing gear of aircraft
  • Closure of the runway for several hours upsetting Schedule of airlines

To prevent such occurrences the airport should undertake the following operations:

  • Perform routine bird-scaring operations
  • Issue Notičes to Airmen(NOTAM) to warm air carriers of concentrations of birds

Aircraft Engine Hazard

A serious hazard is the one caused by the aircraft engine called as Aircraft Engine Hazard. The safety hazard here are caused by exhaust blast, fumes, rotating propellers and the intake suction of the engines.

Warning Note

Never approach or walk or drive behind an aircraft until the engines have stopped and the anti-colision lights are off.

Safety Measures for Aircraft Engine Hazard

There is a need for the running of the aircraft engines on Apron areas. Airport authorities must ensure that the rules and safety procedures for safe engine running at the airport are passed on to flight crews and handing personnel.

Dangerous Goods

Dangerous goods may be encountered accidentally

  • As a part of the process of an aircraft repair or
  • As cargo
  • As a result of spillage

They are in the form of solids, liquids or even gaseous. Dangerous goods can also be flammable substances which may be accidentally encounted.


Measures to Counter Hazards

Dangerous Goods

Dangerous goods must be handled with great care as they may lead to fire and explosions. It can cau se injury to passengers, personnel or may cause damage to the aircraft.

Fire Safety Measures

Fire and explosions are the main hazards associated with potential hazards and loss of life. A fire at the Airport Terminal or other airport structure, whether in the Airside or in the city síde could be disastrous. ln order to ensure fire safety at the airport, people in the airport vicinity should be:

  • Informed of two stages in the alarm system namely-Intermittent or continuous
  • Informed of the escape routes and exits
  • Proper signage displayed at airports, informing of the exit routes
  • Walked around through to the assembly points
  • Briefed on how to raise fire alarm in case of fire or other Emergencies
  • Shown where the fire call points are
  • Given the emergency telephone numbers


Safety Measures for Fire in the Terminal Building

According to the Aircraft Fire Safety and Fire Research, forty percent of the passengers surviving an aircraft accident, die in a post-crash fire. Therefore it is important to enhance fire safety measures in commercial aircraft.

Some fire standards that are maintained are:

  • Floor proximity lighting
  • Heat -resistant evacuation slides
  • Seat cushion fire-blocking layers
  • Low heat and smoke release interior panels
  • Cargo compartment fire protection requirements
  • Flight recorder fire endurance

Safety Measures for Fire on Aircraft

Terminal buildings are designed to seal off one location from the next and prevent fire, heat, and smoke from spreading beyond locations of origination. This system is called compartmentalization.

Terminal building will have the following structures:

  • Fire walls
  • Fire dampers
  • Fire doors

Additionally, fire safety measures at the Terminal building incade:

  • Fire Prevention Program
  • Good House Keeping Habits
  • Electrical Fire Safety

Fire Prevention Program must inchude trainng on

  • Protecting Life
  • Protecting Property
  • Protecting Operations

Good House Keeping Habits

  • Work areas, aisles, walkways, stairways, and equipment should be kept clear of loose trash scraps that are flammable and combustible materials such as paper, wood, Cardboard.
  • Aisles, fire exits, emergency, or alarm pull station should never be blocked with equipment or materials or materials
  • Store flammables and combustibles in minimum quantity
  • Clean up all spills such as grease, oil, or water immediately to avoid accidents


Electrical Fire Safety

  • Install permanent wiring and avoid using extension cords
  • When using extension cords check for defaults such as frays, Brittleness or broken wires.
  • Avoid placing extension cords in high traffic areas where they can be damaged by be.
  • Limit use of Multi-Plug strips to office equipment such as computers, printers ,and fax machines
  • Directly plug in the wall outlets microwaves, refrigerators, and copy machines.
  • Multi-plug strips should have a fuse or circuit breaker and be UL approved.

General Safety Measures

It is the duty of the airports operator and the airlines to:

  • Maintain safe work places
  • Maintain equipments and systems of work
  • Provide for safe airlines operations
  • Follow the standard operation procedures


Working personnel must exercise extreme care and precaution at all times. They must:


  • Identify all risks and hazards
  • Clearly outline steps to be taken

A Risk Management system will greatly assist in evaluating the risk and suggest steps to combat the risk. Safety can also be ensured by:

  • Planning and maintaining airport infrastructure
  • Maintaining equipments that directly interface with the aircraft such as step ladder or aerobridge.
  • Maintaining all vehicles
  • Training Drivers and Operators
  • Maintaining property planned and executed aircraft turnarounds
  • Maintaining cooperation and coordination of all airport users.


Consequences of Non-Compliance of the Safety Regulations

Complying with airport safety and security is of utmost importance as non-compliance could lead to:

  • Catastrophic aircraft accident
  • Serious injury/death to personnel
  • Compensation payments/penalties
  • Damage to aircraft parts or other equipment
  • Loss of revenue caused by flight delays
  • Loss of reputation

Serious Incidents of Interest

Some serious incidents of interest to ICAO include:

  1. Multiple system failures
  2. Fires or smoke on board an aircraft
  3. Terrain and obstacle clearance incidents
  4. Flight control and stability problems
  5. Take-off and landing incidents
  6. Flight crew incapacitation
  7. Decompression
  8. Near collisions and other serious air traffic incidents



  • Stakeholders in Safety
  • Responsibilities of the State Administration
  • Perceptions of Risk
  • Accident vs. Incident
  • Potential hazards
  • Measures to counter hazards
  • Consequences of Non-Compliance of the Safety Regulations