Crew Module - Crew Members

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Provide harmonised health protection and sanitation considerations applicable to crew members that can be implemented globally.

Considerations 

General 

Unless specified as flight crew or cabin crew, the term "crew" refers to all crew required on board for the air operator to support the flight, including those that maybe required to position before or after a duty. This element applies to all crew.

Facilitation

  • Crew members operating passenger aircraft with cargo only, for example, should ensure that the correct notification has been sent to all agencies, to ensure that there is no confusion, or that crew members carried on board such as loadmasters, engineers, and cabin crew are correctly recognised and designated on the crew manifest.
  • Flight crew travel, including travel between States for training and medical certification purposes, is essential in re-establishing operations as alleviations to medical certification, training and checking requirements expire. Noting that many States do not have direct access to training facilities such as flight simulation training devices, it is essential to consider flight crew as 'essential workers' to benefit from PHC initiatives when accessing such facilities or being required to undergo medical examinations in other States.  Further details can be found in ICAO State letter AN 5/28 -20/97.
  • States should require the airlines on their register to establish a coherent, effective and verifiable health assurance programme for their staff that would enable the implementation of measures that facilitate the continued operation of aircraft, such that:
    • Quarantine measures are not imposed on crew who need to layover, or rest, for the purposes of complying with flight time limitation (FTL) rest requirements.
    • Crews are not subject to screening or restrictions applicable to other travellers.
    • Health screening methods for crew members are as non-invasive as possible.

Health monitoring

  • Crew members should monitor themselves for fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, loss of taste, or other symptoms of COVID-19 according to WHO guidance. The WHO cut off point for fever is 380C or higher.
  • Crew members should take their temperature at least twice per day during duty periods and at any time they feel unwell.
  • Crew members should stay at home or in their hotel room, notify their employers' occupational health programme, and not report for work if they develop a fever, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. They should not return to work until cleared to do so by the employers' occupational health programme and public health officials.

Examples of crew exposure concerns include the following:

  • Are within a mandated period of quarantine related to previous travel and/or duty.
  •  A passenger testing positive for Covid-19 regardless of symptoms.
  •  Know that they have been exposed to a person showing symptoms of COVID-19.
  •  Are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.
  •  Have recovered from COVID-19 symptoms but have not been assessed by the employers' occupational health program and public health authority.

During Flight:

  • If a crew member develops symptoms during flight, the crew member should stop working as soon as practical, put on a medical mask, notify the pilot in charge, and maintain the recommended physical distance from others, when possible to do so. Upon landing, individuals should follow up with airline medical and public health officials.
  • Guidelines for managing a passenger developing symptoms during flight are set out in the Cabin Crew module.

Health protection

  • To protect the health of crew and others, including co-workers, crew members should:
    • Maintain recommended physical distance from others where possible, when working on the aircraft e.g., while seated on the jump seat(s) during take-off or landing, during ground transportation and while in public places.
    •  Wash their hands regularly. If hands are not visibly dirty, the preferred method is using an alcohol-based hand rub for 20−30 seconds using the appropriate technique. When hands are visibly dirty, they should be washed with soap and water for 40−60 seconds using the appropriate technique.
    •  Be reminded to, along with frequent hand washing/sanitization, avoid touching their face including while wearing disposable gloves.
    • Wear a non-medical or medical mask while around other people, especially in situations where the recommended physical distance from others cannot be maintained.
    •  Non-medical, medical masks and disposable gloves should not impact the ability to carry out normal, abnormal and emergency safety procedures, such as the donning of oxygen masks, carrying out firefighting procedures etc.

Note - A non-medical mask should not replace the use of medical masks or other PPE provided in the universal precaution kit (UPK) when interacting with a sick traveller on board an aircraft.

    •  Inspect the integrity of the UPKs before each flight. Sealed kits need not be opened as it can be assumed that the contents will be as labelled. Crew members should follow existing air carrier policy and procedures regarding the use of PPE in the UPKs if needed to provide care to a sick passenger on board.
    • Follow the guidance and precautions of the State and relevant health authorities related to COVID‑19.

 

    • Participate in their national vaccination programmes recognising that vaccination offers personal protection from infection and can assist in recovery of global connectivity

Additionally, airlines should:

  • Provide sufficient quantities of cleaning and disinfectant products (e.g. disinfectant wipes) that are effective against COVID-19 for use during flight.
  • Consider providing non-medical or medical masks to crew members for routine use when on duty, if these do not interfere with PPE, while carrying out job tasks and when it is difficult to maintain the recommended physical distance from co-workers or passengers.
  • Use of lavatories 

    • Ideally, one or more lavatories should be reserved for crew use, in order to limit the potential for infection from passengers.

    Crew rest compartments 

    • To minimize any possibility of cross infection, pillows, cushions, sheets, blankets or duvets, where provided, should not be used by multiple persons unless coverings are disinfected.
    • Some airlines issue each crew member with their own provisions and the cabin crew members are responsible for ensuring that they are removed and bagged after use.
    • Other airlines provide bulk loading for crew rest area bedding items. Where this is the case, crew members should install their own bedding items before their rest period and remove them hygienically afterwards.

    Training devices

    • The same health protection and monitoring measures that apply to flight crew operating aircraft should be applied to the use of flight simulators and other training devices.
    • The frequency of routine cleaning of flight simulators and training devices and other training aids, or equipment used during training (including oxygen masks) should be reviewed regularly against the risks and adjusted accordingly’. Cleaning products used should be COVID-19 disinfectants that are compatible with the materials being cleaned.


    Means for uniform implementation

    • Ensure that these considerations are fully supported by:
      • The applicable non-governmental agencies
      • Public health, immigration and customs agencies
      • Civil aviation authorities.
    • A high degree of collaboration between airport operators and their associated stakeholder community.
    • Associated policy, procedures and training are developed to reinforce the importance of these considerations.
    • Use the Crew COVID-19 Status Card (PHC Form 1) or a similar one when appropriate.
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