Ground Safety

This page is a resource for stakeholders to obtain information about ECAST activity in the area of Ground Safety. The establishment of the Ground Safety Working Group (GS WG) is the result of the ECAST process and the priorities identified in 2006/2007. The ECAST GS WG has the overall objective to encourage implementation of action plans developed by existing Ground Safety initiatives and to develop new safety enhancement action plans otherwise.

The efforts of the ECAST GSWG have focused on safety culture and human factors emerging in the aircraft turnaround process. Aircraft handling is a team effort. Team-related elements should be included in training of ramp personnel to optimise the use of people, equipment and information. The concept proposed has been called Ramp Resource Management (RRM).

News Jan 2013: The Ramp Resource Management (RRM) Training Syllabus version 1 is available. The intention of the syllabus is to provide ground service providers and/or airports with the content required to deliver a RRM training.

Ground Safety and implications of ground activities on Flight Safety

In the prioritisation exercise performed by the ECAST Safety Analysis Team in 2006, Ground Safety was ranked first because of combined safety and economic aspects and because this topic was relatively poorly addressed in Europe at the time. Data suggest that many of the safety risks and fatalities originate in this area. It is acknowledged that under this topic a broad spectrum of activities may be encompassed. Events related to lack of safety on the ground are common in Europe, featuring quite strongly in safety reports.  Whilst acknowledging that ground safety activities can have an impact on other safety areas (e.g. Loss of Control or Icing), it is also agreed that there is a need to address specific ground safety risk reduction activities.  Resolving ground safety related issues requires the involvement of various stakeholders making ECAST a unique forum, although efforts should be made to involve the airport community. Furthermore, since ground services are provided also at the place of destination, there is a strong interest for collaboration and harmonisation at an international level.

Research on Aircraft Ground Handling and Human Factor

Links to the reports:

These documents describes research on Human Factors in ground handling performed by the Air Transport Safety Institute of the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) for the Civil Aviation Authority of the Netherlands and ECAST. The objective of this study is to investigate the causal factors which lead to human errors during the ground handling process, creating unsafe situations, personal accidents or incidents. The results provide a basis for recommendations to the participating ground service providers and the European aviation industry.

Health and Safety in the air transport industry

Health and Safety is not in the remit of the ECAST Ground Safety WG.  However, Health and Safety can be of interest of the ECAST Ground Safety community. Health and Safety is addressed in Europe by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work EU-OSHA.

Information is provided on hazards and risks to air transport workers in a dedicated section on their website. In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive developed a website on health and safety in the air transport industry.

Coordination with other initiatives

Ground Handling Operations Safety Team (GHOST)

The Ground Handling Operations Safety Team (GHOST) is a multi-disciplined Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)/Industry group set up to address / share the learning from ground handling issues with the aim of improving safety. For more information, visit the GHOST website.

IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO)

The implementation of the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) aims to improve safety and cut airline costs by reducing ground accidents and injuries. ISAGO is modelled on the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) program. The ISAGO program is an audit system conducted in a standardised and consistent manner, using internationally recognised quality auditing principles.

To respond to the diversity of ground services, ISAGO has been built upon a ‘backbone’ of audit standards applicable to all ground handling companies worldwide, coupled with a uniform set of standards relevant for the specific activities of any ground handler.

For more information, visit: ISAGO Website.

IATA Ground Operations Manual (IGOM)

In today’s industry environment, Airlines, Airport/Regulatory Authorities and Handling Agencies, members of the ISAGO working group and task forces have recognised the need of harmonisation of ground operations activities.

IGOM is a project run by IATA/ISAGO. Task forces have been formatted by the end of May 2010, individual Airlines GOMs are being analysed, project leader has been appointed as of July 2010. Major initial tasks have been identified and agreed amongst the Task Forces members, significant deliverables shall be accomplished by the year end.

Development of IGOM will take account of relevant publications such as IATA AHM, other IATA Publications (e.g. DGR, LAR, PCR) and company manuals (e.g. Airline and GSP) and manufacturers manuals.

UK Ground Handling Operations Safety Team (UK GHOST)

In December 2006, a UK CAA group (with participation from BAA plc) was established to analyse the root causes of incidents that occur on the apron. This group subsequently recommended a series of actions aimed at reducing the risk to aircraft and their occupants, that were introduced during the aircraft’s time on the apron area, for example during loading or de-icing. During 2007, CAA management considered these recommendations and proposed a new CAA/industry working group called Ground Handling Operations Safety Team (GHOST) to formulate an action plan to address each issue. The UK GHOST met for the first time in December 2007. Its members are drawn from the CAA, airport operators, airlines and ground handling companies. Since inception the team has grown, through personal invitation, industry representation has developed and has now become a well-established working group which fosters co-operation and the sharing of best-practice.  For details of the team, see GHOST participating organisations and representatives’ contact details. Terms of reference, key tasks and deliverables are outlined in GHOST Terms of Reference and Deliverables 2011.

Link to the portal for ground handling safety information on the UK CAA website.

This portal features or references several tutorials, including a video and a  DVD with briefing notes entitled “Safety in the Balance”.

Contribution to the IATA family of Ground Safety products

ECAST promotes and contributed to the development of the IATA Ground Operations Manual (IGOM). ECAST also encourages the adption of the other products of the IATA Ground Safety family: the Airport Handling Manual (AHM), the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) and the Ground Damage Data Base.(GDDB), accessible through the Global Safety Information Center (GSIC). The GSIC is a single platform that enables IATA member airlines and other authorised users to access multiple sources of industry safety data obtained from a variety of sources.

The ECAST GS WG work has been presented in November in the Ground Handling International Conference 2009 in Sorrento, Italy, in the ACI Airport Exchange 2009 in Barcelona, Spain, and in the 25th IATA 25th IATA Ground Handling Conference 2012 in Prague.


*Disclaimer: EASA hosts the ECAST materials on Ground Safety on the EASA web-domain for information purposes only. Ultimately it is ECAST that is responsible for the contents and the Agency makes no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or currency of the content. To the extent permitted by law, the Agency shall not be liable for any kind of damages or other claims or demands incurred as a result of incorrect, insufficient or invalid data, or arising out of or in connection with the use, copying, or display of the best practice materials. The information contained in the best practice materials should in no case be construed as legal advice.