Aviation and Aerospace Group - letter from the Chair

July 2020

Well it’s probably fair to say we have had a somewhat unusual first half of the year with a global pandemic emerging that has changed all of our lives. Covid-19 has resulted in probably one of the biggest challenges I have been faced with as an OSH professional and we are all still trying to navigate through the changing and inconsistent global landscape. Covid-19 has created and is still creating significant challenges to our industry and when reviewing flight activity data following SARS and the Global Financial Crisis it is foreseeable it could take between 3-5 years for the industry to recover to pre- Covid levels.

I should firstly say our best wishes go out to everyone who has lost family or friends or have been affected by this virus. I hope that you have been able to support one another through this difficult time. Whilst it has been an intense time for us all personally as well as professionally, I firmly believe it has reinforced the value the profession can add to our businesses. Not only by providing technical input but in providing an opportunity for us to demonstrate a wider set of business skills and have our voices heard at a more senior level.

As we continue to lead our battle against Covid-19 and as this becomes our new normal it is important to be aware that in numerous countries we are seeing second and third waves of the virus. As such, please still stay alert and continue to review whether your current controls are effective. The key take-away point I feel is that whilst we may see the frequency of people suffering from Covid-19 decreasing the severity still remains unchanged.

It is imperative however that whilst we must stay alert in relation to Covid-19 we must also help support our businesses to be resilient, rebuild and seek new opportunities.

During the early Covid-19 Aviation and Aerospace Group (AAG) Committee sessions it became immediately clear that our plan for site visits and conferences would not be achievable. We therefore switched our focus onto our Aviation and Aerospace LinkedIn page. We will continue to use this site for updates and sharing good practice. We also really encourage members to approach us with topics to share but also please comment and interact with fellow members.

As my three years of Chair come to a close, I will imminently be handing over to Rick Phillips from Humberside Airport who will be taking up the Chair’s position for the AAG. Supported by Martin Brennan as Co-chair I am confident you’re in very safe hands but also that Rick will take the group to the next level. Building off the foundation that Ross Coppollo set up for me and I have strengthened further.

In the three years a few highlights stand out:

  • Working with knowledgeable and talented OSH professionals on the Committee. Thank you for your support.
  • Meeting so many enthusiastic and talented IOSH members at events, conferences and site-visits.
  • Having the opportunity to contribute to IOSH’s direction in key areas.
  • Establishing IOSH AAG LinkedIn site. We now have over 1650 members with regular posts!
  • Establishing IOSH AAG Twitter handle.
  • Delivering our first (and subsequent!) webinar(s). Watch this space for a few more we have planned…
  • Establishing a partnership with GHOST and creating of a GHOST HSE subgroup with the CAA, HSE, IOSH and leaders from the Ground handling community all meeting regularly to deliver our strategy.

On a personal note, whilst I step down from my Chair role I shall also be changing jobs. I am looking forward to the personal challenges around learning a new industry but will also look back fondly at my 12 years spent in Aviation. I’d like to thank you all for your support during this period and hope to remain in touch. I would also particularly like to thank Julie Littlejohns, Martin Brennan, Rick Phillips and the rest of the Committee. We are only ever as good as our teams.

Stay safe and healthy,
Hannah Smith, Outgoing Chair

First of all, on behalf of myself and the rest of the committee, I would like to say a big thank you to Hannah for the great work she has done as the Chair of the group for the last 3 years. During her tenure the industry has, and continues to face, some of its greatest challenges in recent times.  

My vision moving forward is to continue to assist and support our members in overcoming the existing and new  demands we are likely to encounter, these seem to be occurring on an almost daily basis and I want our members to be assured that we will  work together to ensure the Health and Safety within the industry is at the forefront of everything we deliver.

As the workplace begins to return to some sort of normality, it is clear that there will be potential risks around operational tasks with things like worker competence, changes in staffing levels and procedures and also concerns over Covid-19 in the workplace. These may apply in  particular to those who are returning following a lengthy period away from the workplace. We will work together with our members to identify risks and assist with providing advice and information to mitigate these using a number of channels.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our members for being part of the IOSH Aviation and Aerospace Group, and I am looking forward to working together with you in the future to deliver elements for the existing programme, as well as adding new projects in line with the identified needs.

Rick Phillips, Chair