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Safety principles


Safety and Security are not the same thing – a mistake that many people make. The following section will introduce you to SMS (the Safety Management System) and human factors.

Safety and Security

Airports are very busy places. Sadly, accidents and incidents occur on a daily basis. There are various reasons for this:

  • Technical breakdown or system failure
  • Human error: when someone makes a mistake, is distracted or impeded in their work
  • Organisational failure as a result of inadequate oversight or defective procedures.

Flughafen Zürich AG therefore constantly examines its operational and safety processes to reduce risk to an acceptable level. Any new projects or investments that are being considered are checked against safety-relevant criteria. All employees are responsible for ensuring that Zurich Airport runs safely in the course of their work.
Safety First!

Safety Safety means preventing injury to people or damage to aircraft, vehicles or infrastructure due to human error or technical failure.

Security means preventing criminal acts deliberately committed at an airport. Security procedures are designed to prevent illegal penetration of the aviation system.

Zurich Airport’s Safety Management System is a systematic, comprehensive process for managing safety risks. The aim of the SMS is to identify and as far as possible minimise events, incidents or accidents in the operational zones of Zurich Airport. This is achieved by following standardised operational and safety processes.

These are documented in the Aerodrome Manual. The SMS comprises four main elements: safety policy and objectives, safety risk management, monitoring safety and promoting safety.

Accidents in operational zones are almost always due to human error and failure to comply with operational procedures and rules. There are many factors affecting the way employees go about their work. Many airport staff work shifts, which regularly causes problems.

These can be due to inadequate communication when shifts change, but fatigue can also be a problem, leading to impaired performance and falling asleep for a moment. All employees are responsible for ensuring that they go about their work as safely as possible. This can mean refusing tasks that put their own safety or that of the airport at risk.

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