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  3. Jet company chief hits out at profit-before-safety approaches

An air company president has claimed that safety is being given less importance than profit-driven performance in the airport ground service industry.


The president of private jet company AVCON, Wayne Anaka, has warned that airport ground workers safety is at risk because of the pressures to be more productive due to airport service companies prioritising profits over safety.


All workers at airports and airlines have safety systems and these have contributed to a reduction in ground damage accidents involving aircraft and collisions caused by airport vehicles. Though safety has improved, there are still accidents involving ground staff.


Anaka points to several contributing factors. Staff shortages have led to overwork, stress and fatigue that often cause accidents. At some airports, there is high staff turnover and health and safety trainers are struggling to keep up with training new recruits.


Safety breaches such as not wearing the correct protective workwear are not always recorded and supervisors may be tempted to ignore safety breaches in order to meet schedules and deadlines.


Airlines and air service companies are cutting costs to remain profitable, and this, according to Anaka, results in lower wages, staff shortages and more emphasis on performance rather than safety.


Anaka’s solution is to:


“…change the corporate and airport community culture where safety and productivity go hand-in-hand with optimum staffing levels, well-paid, well-trained, exceptionally hard-working employees at all levels.”


Other industries should note that making profit more important than the health and safety of their workers is likely to result in costly mistakes and injuries.

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