Fall Protection Training Tips
Guardrails, fall protection equipment and safety policies can't be effective when your employees don't know how to use them. The more knowledgeable your team becomes, the safer they can be on the job and the more prepared they are to prevent accidents.
Your maintenance crew should know how to eliminate hazards, set up guardrails and wear their personal protective gear. They should also be prepared to handle an incident if a fall occurs. Ensuring your maintenance workers follow these fall protection tips can prevent accidents in the workplace.
Fall Protection Safety Tips
In the aviation field, we have many crucial fall protection practices. We have the highest quality fall prevention systems and fall arrest equipment. Knowing how to use these tools and implement federal safety standards is the first step in fall prevention.
Your crew members should have all the fall protection facts and safety tips they need to protect themselves and each other. Develop a fall protection training program and require that all maintenance workers complete the training before working above four feet. Teach refresher courses for any employees who do not follow safety protocols. Whenever rules change, be sure to set up new training. Also, be sure to encourage feedback as well, so your crew will report unsafe conditions and suggest ways to remove hazards and improve safety.
1. Eliminate Hazards First
The best way to stop someone from falling is to keep them on the ground. Both the Organizational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) use The Hierarchy of Controls for Fall Hazards. The preferred method of fall protection is to eliminate the fall hazard.
One excellent way to do so is to use telescoping tools. This equipment allows maintenance workers to perform work from the ground. Another way to eliminate hazards is to work at a lower height when working from the ground isn't possible.
Additionally, whenever possible, be sure to:
- Avoid working at heights during wet, slippery conditions.
- Bring aircraft into their hangars for maintenance when it's raining.
- Keep platforms and workspaces clear of excess cables and tools to help prevent tripping hazards.
2. Engineer Safer Work Environments
When working on an aircraft, it's often not possible to perform work from the ground. For maintenance that must be performed above the ground, design safe working conditions that help to prevent falls altogether. The most common way to do this is to use a system of guardrails.
Guardrails work on the principle of collective fall protection. No matter who is up in the air, a railing protects everyone. By using horizontal railings, you can keep people caged safely inside their work platform. People have more awareness of where the edge of their platform is, and the bars keep them from leaning too far.
Guardrails are safer than fall arrest systems and harnesses because they are subject to less human error. Of course, guardrails have to be set up by your workers and inspected each day for safety and integrity. Build these procedures into your safety training program. Once guardrails are set up and checked, they prevent falls quite effectively.
Boom lifts, scissor lifts and maintenance platforms all have built-in guardrails. Toe guards also help keep people squarely inside their work platforms and help stop slips. Making sure platforms and lifts have excellent traction also creates a safer work environment.
3. Use Personal Protection Equipment
After reducing hazards and setting up safer work environments, use personal protection equipment (PPE) wherever risks are still present. When working at heights, Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS) stop a fall midair — or arrest it. They usually consist of a harness, a lanyard, clips and an anchor point.
Aircraft maintenance workers attach their harnesses to their legs and chest. They then fasten a lanyard to the harness using a D clip and connect the other end of the line to an anchor point. It's critical to train workers how to wear their harnesses correctly.
All full-body harnesses and other equipment must be tested under The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z359 code. The standard harness holds between 130 and 310 pounds. A worker outside the standard weight range must know to request a different harness. The length of the lanyard cannot exceed six feet.
One risk involved with personal fall protection gear is that it requires everyone to know the proper procedures. Every time someone works from a high height, they must wear their harness, tighten it properly and tie-in to an anchor point. Any missteps can compromise your fall protection.
One way to increase the effectiveness of a harness is to invest in a comfortable design. Straps can get loosened as workers grow complacent and discomfort sets in. By investing in harnesses that have good padding and as comfortable a fit as possible, you can ensure your employees wear their gear correctly at all times.
4. Have a Rescue Plan
Remember, a fall arrest system is only half the battle. If a fall takes place, the worker will be left dangling at the end of their protective lanyard. While a free fall can be fatal, suspension can also be just as deadly. Suspension trauma is a health issue that sets in with the poor circulation that results from one's feet being off the ground. A worker hanging by a fall arrest device can experience unconsciousness and death in less than 30 minutes.
After someone falls while using a PFAS, you and your team need to act fast. By pre-planning and training in advance, you can ensure your crew knows what to do in the event of a fall. Identify all fall risks and review the procedure for retrieval with employees before working up in the air. Include active training exercises in your training to give your team first-hand experience in a rescue mission. Make sure your crew members know to always work at heights with another worker present.
Besides planning for a rescue, it's also vital to prepare for fall clearance. A personal fall protection system won't work if a fallen worker reaches another hazard before the lanyard arrests the fall. Always clear the space below an elevated work platform. You need at least six feet of clearance at all places where a fall might occur.
Work With Equipment You Can Trust
The basic principle of all aircraft maintenance safety is to control everything you can. The more you plan, inspect, remove threats and prepare your team, the safer everyone is. One matter that's under your control is the safety equipment you use. Both the types of tools and platforms you use and who manufactures them can have life-saving effects.
JETechnology Solutions is the expert in fall protection, with a combined 75 years of experience. We use industry-leading designs to build custom maintenance stands for aircraft fall protection at every level. We install many fall protection features into our maintenance stands, including guardrails, kickplates, anti-skid flooring and stair treads. Our manufacturing process always meets rigorous OSHA standards, and many of our designs also meet the Air Force Office of Safety and Health standards. We are certified American Welding Society Welders and Solid Works Professionals.
Improve both safety and efficiency with JETechnology products.
Contact JETechnology Solutions
To learn what JETechnology can do for your aircraft maintenance crew, see how we've designed OSHA-compliant maintenance stands to a variety of client specifications. If you're looking for custom maintenance stands for your commercial or U.S. Military aircraft, trust JETechnology. To discuss your project details or to learn more about our products and in-house engineering experts, contact us online or call (407) 501-5341 today.