Written by Dennis Millington
3rd November 2009

At your airport do the following near misses seem familiar?

Auckland Airport Near Misses

  • “Baggage cart drove over bonding wire.”

  • “Almost hit by baggage cart during truck walk around.”

  • "Tug parked under wing vent whilst refuelling.”

  • “Passengers loaded across fuelling line.”

Have your Apron Health and Safety meetings had become a scene out of “Ground Hog Day”, a repeat of the last meeting?  The following is the journey that we have undertaken at Auckland Airport to proactively manage Apron Safety risk by focusing on organizational behaviour.   

akl_code_of_conduct.jpgOur journey comprised of establishing an agreed set of behaviours for all apron users, as a code of conduct, and then as a community testing that we were complying with these behaviours.

Apron Operation Code of Conduct

We facilitated the development of an Apron Operations Code of Conduct which defines the shared behaviours that all the apron operators agree to follow. This was developed in a workshop with representatives of all the major apron users and subsequently agreed by the senior managers of these companies.


These managers have signed this code of conduct demonstrating their leadership and it has been distributed to all the apron users. To produce a document that all could agree on was like herding sheep, one would run off in another direction.  Key was producing a document that did not dilute the desired behaviours to meaningless statements that you could not then judge the behaviours by. 


Download a copy of the Apron Operations Code of Conduct 6


 Apron Operation Code of Conduct Auditing

An audit tool has been developed from the Code of Conduct and joint Apron User Audits have been undertaken to test compliance.  Joint user audits ahs been useful to ensure that all parties are working from the same baseline.  In addition the audit tool is structured so that measurable data can be collected and trended.  The following shows examples of these.  From this data we have been able to identify target improvement areas, our first is speed on the Apron.










Impact On Apron Safety

We began this journey in mid 2007, took us almost a year to the code signed but have now completed half a dozen joint audits.  We are developing a more collaborative approach on the Apron, with more community ownership and a structure to our Apron safety conversations. 

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