Aviation workers ‘stressed out’ by security controls

Safety-critical aviation workers are ‘stressed out’ by security controls, says Prospect

Aviation security protocols are adversely affecting the work of safety-critical specialists, Prospect has told the Department for Transport.

The union has warned that a DfT consultation now under way, Better Regulation for Aviation Security, is too focused on passenger security at the expense of how the current regulations affect workers in safety-critical functions who are required to work airside. The union says the current arrangements are not 'outcomefocused or risk-based.' National secretary Garry Graham said: "Members who work airside contact Prospect on a daily basis with concerns about the impact of the current security arrangements.

"The consultation seeks to improve the passenger experience. But future security arrangements should also minimise the negative impact on airside workers, while supporting the highest levels of aviation security." Prospect members are already subject to the highest level of security vetting. But in order to gain airside access they often fi nd they are subject to greater scrutiny than members of the travelling public.

The impact on members is often perverse. It can lead to delays in reporting for duty and cause staff who work in a safetycritical environment to arrive at work stressed and frustrated.

An example cited is air traffi c controllers – usually shift workers – who are banned from taking certain foodstuffs airside.

"Put bluntly, it is diffi cult to ascertain why air traffi c controllers, given the tools at their disposal, are banned from taking certain foodstuffs airside and what threat to aviation security those foodstuffs may constitute," said Graham.

Airside pass arrangements for staff are already stringent, he said. "It is not in anyone's interests for these individuals to present themselves for duty when they have had to experience the unduly stressful experience of navigating the current security arrangements."