Airport equipment: the contribution of standards to MSD prevention

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A long process within the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) has resulted in the inclusion of musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) prevention in European standards for airport equipment, including petrol fuelling equipment and tractors.

Air transport relies on a very high level of technical expertise. The objective is to ensure passenger safety, system reliability and service quality in a context of international competition between airlines and airports. In this quest for collective performance, the working conditions of the employees concerned are of prime importance. However, airport handling workers – oil refuelling, tractor driving or baggage handling, etc. – are particularly exposed to the risk of MSDs.

This problem became a priority in the mid-2000s with the desire to lead companies to integrate MSD prevention at a very early stage, in particular in the choice of airport equipment used. This is where harmonised European standards come in. They make it possible to meet the essential requirements for protecting the health of operators and to give a presumption of conformity with the applicable Machinery Directive.

Today, the prevention of MSDs is generally well integrated into the European standards relating to airport equipment. The French Occupational Risk Insurance, by actively participating in the drafting of the standards, has made a major contribution to this. Some subjects quickly led to a consensus in favour of prevention. Others, on the other hand, required years of argumentation.

The INRS “Focus normalisation” looks back at the problems encountered, in particular at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle Airport, the second largest airport hub in Europe, and the work carried out by the Regional Health Insurance Fund of Île-de-France (CRAMIF) in the field of MSD prevention and standardisation.

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