Baggage control staff at the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) Terminal 1 reported receiving electric shocks from electrostatic charges of an x-ray baggage scanner.
Employees have reported about 60 incidents of electric shocks since the airport’s opening on October 31, 2020. On January 6, 2021, BER staff reported a whopping 11 incidents, four of which required immediate medical attention.
On January 11, 2021, trade union ver.di called for an immediate halt of passenger handling operations at Terminal 1 “for the safety of employees and travelers, passenger controls should be suspended immediately.”
⚡️Arbeitsunfälle durch Stromschläge am Flughafen #BER: Zur Sicherheit der Beschäftigten und der Reisenden sollten die Passagierkontrollen sofort ausgesetzt werden. https://t.co/pfYxUTHSA9 #Luftverkehr
— ver.di (@_verdi) January 11, 2021
In a statement, trade union ver.di said that Securitas employees reported “severe pain, numbness and drowsiness” from the electric shocks they have received after using luggage control devices.
The union stated that due to low air travel demand, the suspension of the airport’s Terminal 1 operations would not inflict huge losses, as there are plenty of capacity available, including the old Berlin-Schönefeld Airport (SXF).
“Due to the already very low number of passengers, the suspension of control activities in Terminal 1 would not even result in restrictions on air traffic,” said regional department manager, Benjamin Roscher.
To prevent such incidents, the employees were informed how they could stop electrostatic charges after the Federal Police called their specialist staff to investigate the matter. The Federal Police recommended wearing “electrostatic discharge” shoes. In addition, the staff were also given anti-static key rings that could discharge voltage, according to Berliner Zeitung.
“The FBB is in close contact with the Federal Police since the increased occurrence of electrostatic discharges during the security check proceedings. We know that the responsible authorities in the Federal Police have taken various measures that have already led to a significant reduction in electrostatic discharges. The FBB assumes that such situations can be avoided in the future,” said the airport’s spokesperson in a statement to AeroTime News.