Summer in Toronto can be tricky. Sometimes we have warm sun and blue skies, other times it is hot, humid and muggy with a sky full of clouds. The one constant factor throughout hot summer weather is the consideration of safety for workers on the area of the airfield known as the ramp or apron. Those workers maintain the airfield, unload planes, guide aircraft to their gate and prepare flights for their next take off. Because of their exposure to the elements, they need to take care in hot weather.
Measuring temperature on the airfield
To measure temperature in the airfield, we use WetBulb Globe Temperature (WGBT) monitoring, which is different than your average mercury-based thermometer. A WGBT monitor measures temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover to create a more realistic rating of the conditions outside. We use a six-point scale to illustrate the temperature level and its potential effect on workers, with 0 being no adverse effect and 5 being the most dangerous.
Protecting employees from high heat
Hot weather can be dangerous for staff who work outside on the airfield. Many of these jobs involve physical labour, like operating machinery, lifting heavy loads and being directly exposed to sunlight for extended periods of time. When the temperature reaches a certain level, workers will begin limiting their time outdoors, consuming more water and taking mandatory rest periods.
How does high heat affect passenger experience?
In times of high heat, outdoor workers may be operating at a slower pace because of the dangerous weather conditions. This could mean that your plane takes longer than expected to reach the gate or that your luggage is delayed in being processed through the bag carousel. Safety is top priority at Toronto Pearson and we know that our passengers understand the need to protect workers. In times of extreme heat, workers operate as effectively as possible to continue processing luggage and preparing planes for departure, so that passengers can have the best possible travel experience.