Work in the aerospace industry includes manufacturing, maintenance and testing which can expose employees to many hazards. Moreover, space is often at a premium and this makes it difficult to use some types of safety equipment. Hence there needs to be specific fall protection for the aerospace industry.
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Risks Of Working in Aerospace
In the aerospace industry there are many risks. Technicians, contractors and maintenance staff regularly work on aircraft wings and fuselages and as such, they are working at height. There is the danger of falling into machinery or rotating parts, as well as working from tall structures such as roofs and scaffolding.
Risks to others including opening aircraft doors from outside and inside. There’s the risk of falling from an unguarded door if there is no ground support equipment in place such as an emergency chute or steps.
In addition to their own risks, employees working at height could potentially injure others by falling onto a lower level.Therefore fall protection safety is essential when working in this industry.
When Do You Need Fall Protection Equipment
Any time a worker is carrying out tasks at height where a fall could lead to serious injury or fatality, there must be fall protection systems in place. You can use common sense to identify and select the right fall protection equipment. However, you must also adhere to safety guidelines relating to the particular job and industry.
Fall Protection Hierarchy For The Aerospace Industry
In terms of fall protection safety, an employer typically uses a specific fall protection hierarchy to select the right equipment. This follows five levels;
- No fall protection
- Eliminate the hazard
- Isolate the area when fall hazards can happen
- Give workers proper training on fall safety procedures and methods
- Install fall arrest systems such as safety nets or bags to protect employees from fall hazards
Fall Arrest Systems For The Aerospace Industry
At number 5 in the hierarchy is installing a fall arrest system such as a safety bag or net. The aim of a fall arrest system is to catch a falling worker and to absorb the impact of the fall as much as possible.
When planning to install a fall arrest system, you also need a recovery plan in place, in order to safely remove the person who has fallen. Furthermore, you need to ensure that a competent person has the correct training on how to use, install and maintain a fall arrest system.
Why Choose Fall-Pac Equipment
Fall-Pac units are safety bags as part of a fall arrest system. They are extremely flexible and easy to move around. This makes them ideal fall protection for the aerospace industry.
The Fall-Pac unit is built to set up quickly and easily and gives complete protection from falls when working at 2.7 metres, or 3.4 metres if doubled up.
It’s lightweight so you can easily move it into position, even where space is at a premium. The safety bags have a high quality polypropylene outer casing with a protective coating, which makes them very durable. Fall-Pac units offer excellent fall protection, even in the wettest environment. Inside each unit is a specialist polystyrene which provides a reliable soft landing.
What Fall Protection Equipment Do You Need
Sometimes, a worker may feel that certain types of fall protection equipment restrict them from completing their tasks. For example, in the aerospace industry, people need to manoeuvre easily while carrying out jobs.
The risk here is that the worker may consider taking shortcuts if they are not properly trained to use the equipment, or if it restricts them too much. Taking shortcuts can then lead to falls which cause serious injury or fatality.
In the aerospace industry, different types of fall protection equipment include lanyards, lifelines and anchor systems.
For example, a vaccum anchor fall protection system provides a single anchor point for a worker on wings, fuselage or stabilisers. It’s positioned and then locked in place. The worker wears a full body harness with a safety lanyard and rope which is connected to the vacuum anchor. An adjustable rope allows for more movement.
Another useful piece of equipment is a shock absorbing lanyard. These are typically made of synthetic webbing to absorb the impact of a fall as part of a fall arrest system. The lanyard reduces the impact of a fall to your chest or torso.
By installing a fall arrest system alongside fall protection equipment, you are ensuring that your workers stay as safe as practically possible, even if they do fall from height.
Three Main Fall Protection Methods For The Aerospace Industry
Within a hanger in the aerospace industry, there are three main fall protection methods to improve safety.
Firstly, the aim is to start with fall prevention. So an employer would assess the risks within the site and make changes to make it safer. This can include collective safety equipment such as protective railings, safety zones and mobile work platforms. The aim is to create an area as safe as possible, where ideally, you don’t need to rely on fall protection equipment. However, this is not always realistic. Hence the next stage is a fall restraint plan.
Fall restraint is about equipment which prevents or restrains you from reaching the fall hazard in the first place. So this could be a body harness a lanyard or a lifeline. Basically, the aim is to stop workers getting close enough to a potential fall hazard.
Finally, if there’s absolutely no option of avoiding the fall hazard for the work to take place, that’s when you need a fall arrest system, such as a fall bag or safety net. Ideally, you will never need to use it. But the protection is there in case a worker suddenly falls from height. The safety bag absorbs the impact of the fall, preventing serious injury or fatality.
Conclusion: Fall Protection For The Aerospace Industry
In summary, there are many fall hazards in the aerospace industry and it’s essential that workers have the proper training to use fall protection equipment safely.
Within the aerospace industry in particular, many falls from height happen when workers are maintaining aircraft, getting in or out of aircraft or working on equipment such as belt loaders.
If your employees are at risk from falling while working at height, you can contact Fall-Pac.com for essential advice and supplies.