Ensure aviation security staff aren't affected by fatigue

The fatigue that comes from working 12-hour shifts, especially for security staff in the aviation sector, seems to have gone unnoticed for a long time (Securing the lot of the security guard; Dec 1).

Those who have worked in this sector know only too well that fatigue sets in fast in the last few hours of a long shift, especially after a four-to five-day stretch of 12-hour duties.

As the idea that fatigue can have detrimental effects is not on most people's radar, there is a lack of awareness that the security of passengers and the screening of bags may be compromised. Dangerous items can easily be overlooked by a pair of tired eyes.

In a forward-looking country, it is hard to believe that the danger this problem poses has not been addressed, especially when it comes to aviation security, where every passenger and item has to be thoroughly checked before being allowed on an aircraft.

I strongly urge the authorities to relook the working hours of aviation security staff.

It is better to be safe than sorry. It is difficult to neutralise danger at 33,000 feet in the air.

Kang Choon Tian

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2017, with the headline 'Ensure aviation security staff aren't affected by fatigue'. Print Edition | Subscribe