Back

Blog

Safe checkpoints for safer travel

By: Yvette Favaro
July 6, 2016

Health and safety are of the utmost importance at GardaWorld. As a premier provider of security to the air transportation industry, we are, of course, committed to the well-being of the passengers who entrust us with their care. We are also similarly committed to the highest levels of health and safety in regard to our employees. They best protect others when we are protecting them. Yvette Favaro, Screening Point Manager at YAM and YYB, shares how we strive to do so.

In partnership with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), our commitment to the health and safety of our employees is demonstrated in every aspect of the work environment we strive to offer. Workstations are designed ergonomically to reduce physical strain, while anti-fatigue mats have been installed at every position. Together, these initiatives allow our Screening Officers to operate at prime efficiency for the maximum amount of time.

Continuous training and awareness sessions prepare them for every aspect of the job, including the physical challenge. Employees are informed and trained in a variety of techniques to lift, carry, push, pull and turn heavy luggage safely and efficiently. It is a daily task repeated many times throughout a shift, so it is important to do it right to avoid muscular or physical injuries.

Considering the nature of their duties, Screening Officers understand they might come into contact with a wide variety of substances, including the dangerous chemicals they are searching for in the first place. It also includes more mundane dangers such as bodily fluids. All Screening Officers are mandated to wear blue gloves at all times when manipulating or searching through a passenger’s luggage. This precaution of course avoids both health issues and contamination. Our occupational health and safety program also ensures all employees are knowledgeable concerning the handling of sharp objects and other potential dangers in a bag or on a passenger’s person.

We consider our employee’s health as important as their safety. And in our line of duty, healthy, alert and focused employees are key to ensure all passengers travel safely. Our checkpoints managers work relentlessly to ensure that all employees rotate positions every 30 minute in order to avoid error and fatigue. Many of a Screening Officer’s duties can get repetitive, and analyzing x-ray images for a prolonged period increases fatigue, strain and stress on screening officers. Switching places with fellow colleagues allows the brain to remain focused on the task at hand and ultimately, ensure everyone’s maximum safety.

But on top of every initiative, the key remain preparation. Regular practices by GardaWorld, CATSA and other partners such as the airport authority or the emergency response services ensure everyone knows how to handle a wide variety of potential incidents, from irate passengers to detection of gun or IEDs. Twice a year, we work alongside our partners to perform emergency drills, ensuring everyone understands their own roles and how they interact with the roles of others.

Health and safety are priorities for GardaWorld, and we strive to constantly improve the excellent resources available to our employees. Encouraging a safe and vibrant workforce results in officers which are second to none, providing uncompromising security for many of Canada’s biggest airports.