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Helen Hodges

Airside Driving – Vehicle Safety at Work

July 2016

This blog was updated in August 2022

In this blog we are going to look at the specialist area of Airside Driving and best practice. Safety compliance in airside driving is essential in avoiding dangerous and costly accidents.

Airside Driving has its own hazards, not least the movement of various forms of aircraft and speciality vehicles. In addition, contributory factors for hazards need to be considered and control strategies must be in place.

Hazards of Airside Driving

Hazards can include (but are not limited to):

  • Collisions with vehicles and aircraft
  • Collisions between airside vehicles
  • Collisions between vehicles and pedestrians (both employees and non-employees e.g. passengers)
  • Vehicles striking buildings and/or airside furniture such as barriers, fuelling hydrants, fixed power units etc.

Some of the contributory factors associated with these hazards (but not limited to) are:

  • Speeding
  • Poor weather conditions such as fog, rain, snow, ice, high winds
  • Night operations
  • Human factors such as the perceived pressure to get the job done i.e. to turn an aircraft around in time and also fatigue

Control Strategies

To identify and control these hazards, an employer is required to consider the following areas:

  • Risk assessment - on the significant driving tasks that are relevant to the airport the company is working at, as all airports have different layouts.
  • Rules and procedures - e.g. safe systems of work covering the tasks undertaken
  • Training - ensure drivers are fit and competent to operate airside
  • Supervision – ensure drivers are following the company standards and airport rules with regular inspections and audits of driving standards.

Unlike the traditional workplace such as a warehouse yard, where the HSE guidance web pages are ideally placed to offer excellent advice to an employer, to assist in managing the hazards associated with Airside Driving, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued specific guidelines.

Additional Support 

IOSH’s Aviation and Aerospace Group (AAG) has developed a DVD entitled Safe Airside Driving which can be used as either a stand-alone refresher or as part of a formal Airside Driving course.

  • Legal and regulatory requirements
  • Vehicle safety, airside driving permits and training
  • Airfield geography and layout
  • Fitness, training and competency to drive
  • Driving at night and in bad weather

Training for People Working in Aviation

 For more information about IOSH Managing Safely in Aviation click the button below!

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