Staying safe during Winter operations


Do you feel the chill in the mornings? Winter is fast approaching. With winter weather comes slippery surfaces, extreme cold, high winds, and challenging driving conditions.

Take no risks and tread carefully

Adverse weather conditions, such as snow, sleet and slush, create slippery conditions and the potential for black ice, increasing the risk of slips, trips, and falls.

Be prepared for slippery conditions:

  • Be attentive and use caution when walking. Watch your step and wear appropriate anti-slip footwear in winter weather. Your footwear helps you maintain balance on icy surfaces. Be prepared for winter conditions by wearing footwear with cleats.
  • Avoid distractions. Always look in the direction of travel and look down before you step down.
  • Use three points of contact when stepping up and down stairs, in and out of vehicles, and climbing ladders.
  • Report icy or wet conditions to the snow desk at 6-SNOW to help prevent others from falling.

When exiting vehicles:

  • Look first before stepping from the vehicle.
  • Use the vehicle for support.
  • Do not grab objects, such as coffee mugs or water bottles when you are exiting; retrieve your items after you exit the vehicle.
  • Try to keep your center of gravity over your supporting leg for better balance.
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets.
  • Keep your safety vested buttoned up and avoid wearing loose clothing and long scarves.

Apron Housekeeping

Ensure all equipment and hoses, such as GPU Cables, A-VDGS E-stop cables and PCW hoses, are stowed safety before leaving the gate area. Hoses are a significant tripping hazard and can be damaged by maintenance vehicles when not secured/protected.

Ensure gates are cleared and all chocks and cones are removed and off the ground to allow for snow clearing equipment to clear the apron.

During winter operations, follow the parking plan, including parking GSE equipment behind the lines and leaving dollies, baggage carts, belt loaders and GPUs near the head of the gate so that large equipment can clear deeper into the gates as they pass.

Winter driving on the airside

Whether you’re driving airside or on your way to work, it’s important to drive slower during the winter. Here are some winter driving tips that will help keep you safe:


  • Avoid fishtailing when driving strings of carts or dollies.
  • Reduce the amount of dollies/carts according to conditions.
  • Avoid driving airside during low visibility when able.
  • Leave extra space between you and other vehicles or equipment.
  • Brake and accelerate slowly. Remember, heavy loads require a longer distance to stop.
  • Avoid distractions.
  • When towing, only accelerate to driving speeds when all items in the tow are straightened out to follow the tractor pulling them.

Be mindful of where you park your vehicle or equipment. Snow cleaning equipment needs to be able to access gates and the maneuvering area to keep the apron clear. Give them priority and right of way when you see they are pushing or treating snow/ice.

Keeping situation awareness and using defensive driving skills are critical when there are challenging visual conditions. Review the airside safety shift briefings on

Take caution and dress for success

Working outside during the winter can be cold and windy. Remember, CSA approved safety footwear and safety vests are mandatory when working below the wing. This includes on the ramp, baggage laterals and on the apron.

A few tips on how to dress to stay warm this winter:

  • Look at the forecast before your shift to prepare and dress for the weather.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing layers over a base layer to retain body heat.
  • Wear a wind proof and waterproof coat that is reflective as your top layer. Your reflective outer piece needs to be CSA approved Class 2 reflective safety vest standard.
  • Use the two-layer sock system. Wear a thin sock to wick away moisture and a wool sock on top to keep your feet warm. Bring an extra pair of socks in case you need to change during the day.
  • Wear insulated work boots to keep you warm throughout your day.
  • Always wear a toque or winter hat. You lose 30-50% of heat from your head. On extremely cold days, you may require more than a toque to keep warm.

Keep these tips in mind while you work during the winter season.