**Update: 01/12/21 @ 16:45 UTC – Statement from Berlin Brandenburg Airport added below**
Staff at Berlin’s new Brandenburg Airport are reportedly receiving shocks while working in the new terminal. The shocks have been severe enough to require rescue services and ambulances in some cases, according to reports. This repeated issue has led trade unions to call for the new Terminal 1 to close for repairs, only two months after opening.
According to a report from Berliner Zeitung, security staff have complained of repeated shocks from airport equipment in Terminal 1. The shocks have been identified as electrostatic shocks from the X-Ray machines in the terminal, say experts for the Berlin Federal Police.
While a spokesperson for the Federal Police says, “These usually do not lead to injuries, but can cause startle reactions,” staff reports give a very different account. On January 6th alone, 11 cases of shocks were documented, four of which needed emergency services. In total, there have been over 60 such incidents, with many going unreported, according to staff.
Concerningly, the number of incidents has been rising in the last few days. One staff member said, “Some employees are electrocuted several times during a shift. A colleague was hit four times, she quit her job for the day.” Multiple employees have had to go to the hospital, with the shocks causing severe pain, drowsiness, and numbness.
In response to these reported incidents, trade union Verde has called for Terminal 1 to be closed for repairs. They cite the injuries to staff and the risk of passengers being impacted as the reason to move operations to Terminal 5 temporarily.
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Berlin Brandenburg’s leadership has said Terminal 1 will not close and highlighting a series of recommended changes to prevent such incidents. The Federal Police has also said that,
“As a result of an expert report, which has now also been available, all systems comply with the applicable standards and recognized rules of technology.”
Security staff will be given protective equipment to prevent such shocks, which can be from many sources. Staff will have electrostatic discharge shoes and anti-static key fobs. Other preventive measures could include using conductive floors and underlays. Another recommended change is for staff to use less conductive clothing material.
In a statement to Simple Flying, a spokesperson for Berlin Airport said,
“The FBB s in close contact with the Federal Police since the increased occurrence of electrostatic discharges during the securitiy 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.”
This also isn’t the first time Berlin’s new airport has been in the news. The airport was infamously supposed to open almost a decade ago but faced a series of mismanagement and corruption scandals. When it did open in October 2020, the pandemic quickly caused operations to be pared back due to falling demand.
What do you think about Berlin’s new airport? Should it close to deal with these issues? Let us know in the comments below!