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Servisair UK Limited: Manual handling training for baggage handlers

The problem

Servisair UK Limited is a global company and is part of the Derichebourg Group. It provides a comprehensive range of airport services including baggage handling. The training of staff and improving the actual manual handling practice in the workplace is seen as a key area that gives information and knowledge to protect employees from injury. Manual handling in the aviation industry presents many challenges, for example, handling of baggage into or out of an aircraft hold and using a range of equipment including belt conveyors, baggage dollies etc.

What we did

The company provides comprehensive, initial manual handling training to their baggage handlers. However, the application of the techniques on the ramp presents many challenges to address including the variety of the load, the environment, work equipment used, the task and the individual capability of the baggage handler. Previously we would bring people back into the classroom to refresh their knowledge of manual handling. Practical work would be limited to the classroom environment, and although a variety of items were used, it was very easy for the training in the mind of the employees to be dissociated from the actual work on the ramp.

We decided to take the training directly onto the ramp alongside the actual work in hand.  The trainers were equipped with an easy to use checklist to observe and record actual work practices.  The trainer would then use a comprehensive guidance document to inform and advise the baggage handler on how to improve their handling techniques to reduce the risk of injury.  This information was delivered to the individual on the job and the task was observed again to reinforce the new, better practice.

The improvements and benefits

The improvements are two fold: trainers are able to comment on directly observed handling activities and employees are given coaching and guidance that directly relates to their job. Training can now address such issues as the safe and proper use of work equipment used on the ramp that could not have been undertaken in a classroom environment. The training is no longer dissociated from the job. Business benefits include a seamless training intervention that no longer interrupts the job but is seen as part of the job.

Feedback from our employees and trainers includes:

‘I find it easier to understand where I am going wrong with the technique, when it can be pointed out to me carrying out the task in hand’

’Better to be more hands on’

‘It is easier to explain to (old school) employees what to do and actually showing them with the equipment’

’Multi tasking, I am able to do refresher training on the equipment at the same time’

Updated 2013-06-12