Airports have many hazardous work environments that require both vigilance and the correct personal protective equipment (PPE). Workers at both busy metropolitan airports and smaller, private fields need to abide by the safety protocols in place, but should also look to their own safety by making sure the equipment they are given is in good repair. It may be wise for them to consider buying their own PPE when better options are available.
Noise protection is one of the biggest considerations for baggage handlers, mechanics, fuel truck operators, and even catering companies that work on the tarmac. Ear plugs can help tremendously. Some, such as the Moldex Pura-Fit 6800 Foam Earplugs, have very high noise reduction ratings (NRR 33), while being a great value and PVC-free. However, ear plugs aren't favored by everyone. In many instances workers prefer to wear earmuffs because they are often more comfortable and easier to put on and take off. Howard Leight makes a popular model - the Bilsom Leightning L3 Earmuff which has an NRR of 30 and features special high-density memory foam ear cushions that provide a great individual fit and won't slip while wearing.
Another popular option for those working in noisy areas of airports are the Howard Leight Leightning L3 Hi-Visibility Earmuffs. Since you can't hear everything going on around you, it's a good idea to have earmuffs that are easily seen. These very bright green earmuffs, in combination with other reflective clothing makes a person very hard to miss even in low light or low visibility situations.
Inspection of ear protection is crucial. Don't let cracked or ill-fitting earmuffs leak damaging levels of sound to your ears. Replacement ear cushions and hygienic foam inserts are available for many of the earmuffs we carry. One final note on hearing protection: An even greater degree of protection can be achieved by combining ear plugs and earmuffs. Because of the possibility of extremely high noise in certain airport situations, this may at times be necessary. Please read our blog post for further information.
Many on the ground crew also wear gloves for hand protection or often just for a better grip. Baggage handlers often turn to palm-coated string knit safety gloves like the popular G-Tek MaxiFlex Nitrile-Coated Gloves which provide abrasion and cut resistance as well as a good grip. Those working in colder conditions, or where additional visibility is desirable may find the MCR Memphis Forceflex Cold Weather Work Gloves a very good option.
At the end of the shift, they are your ears and eyes and it's your responsibility to make sure you are being as safe as you can on the job. Relaxing safety protocols for even a day can result in a lifetime of degraded ability. If you have questions about any of the equipment we carry and its suitability for ground crew work, please give us a call or contact us online.
If you work as ground crew, let us know what works best for you or which equipment you wish you could find a better solution for. As always, thanks for reading.