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Don't Wing It


The best solution for almost all types of aircraft maintenance work is tying off to a permanent overhead engineered system. There are two basic types of permanent overhead systems: a cable system and a horizontal rail system. A cable system is strung horizontally across hangar roof beams and supported by intermediate brackets spaced evenly to help distribute the forces of a fall.

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									                          Don’t Wing It
                          Fall protection tips
                          for aircraft maintenance

When you are working on an aircraft off the ground, a
fall protection system must be in place.

By Tim Maroushek                    o matter what type of aircraft a        protection system: anchorage, body sup-
                                    mechanic is working on — prop           port, and connector. The anchorage is a vital
                                    or jet, private or commercial, nar-     part of any fall protection system and many
                          row- or wide-bodied plane — work sur-             options are available to suit the location of
                          faces are sloped and slippery, intensifying       the aircraft, whether parked on the tarmac
                          fall hazards. Even if this is the hundredth       or in a hangar.
                          time a worker has performed the same                  A full-body harness distributes fall arrest
                          job, the worker must be aware of the sur-         forces to the upper thighs, pelvis, chest, and
                          roundings. It only takes one slip or mis-         shoulders. When selecting a harness, con-
                          step for a fall to occur.                         sider the worker’s comfort and time spent
                              Whether conducting a routine mainte-          wearing the harness, as well as the applica-
                          nance check or carrying out a repair job, a       tion and environment. A comfortable harness
                          fall protection system must be in place any-      has padding and lining, as well as adjust-
                          time you are working on an aircraft surface       ment points on the legs, waist, chest, and
                          more than a few feet off the ground. Even if      shoulders. Breathable lining that wicks mois-
                          it’s a routine repair that will only take a few   ture away from the body helps workers stay
                          minutes to complete, and the risk of falling      dry and comfortable in hot or cold weather.
                          seems improbable — think again. It only               There are two main connector options
                          takes a second for a fall to occur.               to connect the anchorage to the harness:
                              Depending upon the application, OSHA          lanyards and self-retracting lifelines (SRLs).
                          mandates fall protection when working on          If a task requires more mobility, the worker
                          surfaces elevated by more than 4 or 6 feet.       should use an SRL. A shock-absorbing
                          There are multiple fall protection solutions      lanyard can be used when less mobility is
                          for the aviation industry to ensure mainte-       required. A shock-absorbing lanyard limits
                          nance and repair tasks are completed effi-        the fall arrest forces exerted on the body
                          ciently and most importantly, safely. Below       in the event of a fall. In order to prevent
                          are tips to help select the best-suited fall      scratching the plane’s surface, workers
                          protection solutions for applications in the      should use harnesses and connectors with
                          aviation industry.                                covered h
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