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Manual handling risks during baggage handling on the ramp
This Sector Information Minute provides information on risks associated with baggage handling on the ramp, with particular emphasis on loose loaded narrow bodied aircraft. It also contains guidance on enforcement in this area.The manual loading of baggage, mail sacks and cargo into and out of aircraft holds present a risk of manual handling injuries to ground handlers. The back and shoulders are the areas of the body particularly affected but other areas such as the neck and knees can also be affected. There is a margin of error in HSE accident data due to misallocation of SIC codes and discrepancies in estimates of total employees in the sector. However, best estimates indicate that the rate of manual handling injury for baggage handlers is approximately five times that of the all industry average.This guidance note deals with loading and unloading aircraft which do not use containerised bins (known as ‘Unit Load Devices’ (ULDs)). Smaller, narrow bodied aircraft continue to rely on ground handlers to load and unload the hold by manual transfer between the dolly/truck, mobile conveyor belt (if used) and hold. Whilst this guidance d Oakley Sunglasses Outlet eals specifically with baggage handling on the ramp, manual handling risks in baggage sort halls and at passenger check in desks may also need to be addressed.On wide bodied aircraft the use of ULDs and their associated mechanical handling equipment reduces the need for manual handling. However, some of these aircraft, such as Boeing 747s have small rear holds which do not accommodate ULDs and so must be loaded manually. For these aircraft holds, the guidance in this SIM remains valid.The economics of air travel, the contracting out of ground handling operations by airlines and the highly competitive nature of the business mean that changes to the design of th Oakley Sunglasses Outlet e aircraft hold, installation of handling equipment and the use of ULDs for narrow bodied aircraft are long term goals. Efforts are being made to attain these goals by European and international agreement, and by contacts with aircraft designers and manufacturers. In the short term, however, baggage handling will continue to be a labour intensive task and action should be taken where necessary to reduce the risk of MSDs. wheel chocksMovement of marker conesManual pushing and pulling of GSE such as passenger steps, baggage carts and mobile belt loadersLoose handling bags off and onto the aircraftHandling of bags inside the aircraft holdThe two highest risk areas for manual handling injuries have been shown by research to be:The stacking and the packing of bags inside the hold due to the severely constrained posture and requirement to handle whilst kneelingThe manual pushing and pulling of heavy GSE such as passenger stepsManual Handling RisksErgonomics and medical research has helped to clarify the main risks of back disorder associated with manual handling.These factors can act in combination making the risk greater. For instance, a repetitive lifting task undertaken in an unfavourable posture can represent a high risk.Detailed description of the manual handling risks presented by baggage handling can be found in Appendix 1.What should be expectedA current risk assessm Oakley Sunglasses Outlet ent should identify what the employer sees as the main risks and what measures have been put in place to minimise the identified risks. Baggage handling companies may wish to base their risk assessment on the findings of the stakeholder project at East Midlands airport which identified a suitable hierarchy of control measures for the control of manual handling risks in baggage handling. The report of this project can be found here . Inspectors may wish to make themselves familiar with the conclusions of this project. A copy of the identified hierarchy of controls is reproduced in Appendix 2.The loadThis is one task parameter that it is difficult for the baggage handling organisation to control. Current industry recommendations in the IATA Airport Handling Manual are that the maximum weight of any single piece of checked baggage should not exceed 23kg (50lbs), without prior arrangement. Although this limit is widely accepted, some airlines will accept baggage up to 32kg, and some foreign carriers have even heavier weight limits.It is also recommended in the IATA AHM that “Heavy” tags/labels must be placed on all pieces of baggage which exceed 23kg with the actual weight shown on the tag/label and that baggage belts weigh scales at the passenger check in points should have an audible or visible warning when any individual bag we Oakley Sunglasses Outlet ight exceeds 23kg.Weight restriction and labelling are in the control of the airline and the check in staff and weight limits are not always enforced. Where heavy bags which are not labelled are found, the airline should be approached to ensure that systems are put in place to ensure that any existing weight limits are implemented and that heavy bags are tagged.