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Travel Monitor

Baggage Screeners: Unsung Heroes of Border Security

It’s a crisp morning outside the revolving doors of the airport. For business or for pleasure, travelers from around the world scramble to get through security and inside the airplane to their seats. Arriving at the security checkpoint, each traveler puts their bag through a scanner.

Each bag takes about 20 seconds to be scanned and checked by the baggage screeners – a considerably short amount of time. Travelers want to get through quickly and the endless stream that they form justifies the short time-window that inspectors have at their disposal to screen each bag.

No room for error

Of course, errors are a constant danger in this line of work. And their consequences are potentially fatal.

As baggage screeners scan 100 to 150 bags per hour, how do they manage to detect dangerous items without making any errors?

Today, airports are required to ensure the safety of travelers. Baggage screeners have to comb through an enormous amount of scans in order to perceive the dangerous items that might be hidden within. Screeners need to be alert for firearms, explosives, illegal substances, grenades, knives, drugs, and more.

Screeners will rarely encounter the majority of the most hazardous objects. Regardless, they must remain vigilant. Under X-ray, many threat items look very similar to everyday items. It is only small details that allow screeners to differentiate them. With many items overlapping each other, even distinctive items can be very difficult to see. As a result, the main challenge for screeners is to understand the different shapes that hazards may take and how to recognize them.

Reducing the risk of threat with affective training

In order to perform more effectively and reduce the risk of threat items passing through unnoticed, baggage screeners need to receive the necessary training and awareness. The results from these types of training speak for themselves. Through its Screening Training Solution, SGS has seen an average improvement of 24% between test results before and after training.

However there is an additional issue with baggage screening.

The ability to correctly perceive threat items diminishes overtime. This means that refresher courses are also necessary to maintain the highest levels of performance. Baggage screening requires continuous training.

Ongoing scanning training – without disrupting vital operations

To support the security industry, SGS proposes different levels of training to suit all kinds of needs – in-house with a trainer or online to facilitate the rotation of personnel without disrupting the daily operations.

Thanks to baggage screeners, passengers are kept safe. That is why they need the proper training and follow-up courses to perform at their highest potential.

The SGS Screening Training Solution not only suits airport related activities, but all kinds of scanning activities around critical infrastructures, such as governmental buildings, justice department facilities, hotels, and so on.

To find out more about effective ongoing training, please visit the SGS Scanner Training Services page.

SGS also performs a number of scanning services. Find out more on the Scanning Services page.

For any additional information, please contact:

Barbara Soto
Governments and Institutions Services
Scanner Business Development Deputy Manager
t: +41 22 739 9353
m: +41 79 734 2976