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Airside Safety hazards – falls from height

Airside Safety hazards – falls from height

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report that the number of falls reported airside has decreased significantly in the past few years. However, the executive warns that there is still a substantial risk of serious injury unless the appropriate systems of work and standards are maintained. Part of these standards must be the appropriate purchase and maintenance of equipment that promotes height safety.

Airside presents many risks of injury from falls from height. Among the most obvious and significant risks of falling from height comes during aircraft maintenance activities. However, those responsible for servicing and turnaround activities are also at risk. Turnaround activity involves workers who wouldn’t traditionally be linked to safety concerns, such as catering staff using high loaders to replenish the aircraft.

Equally, there are risks to ground handlers and aircraft crew when the aircraft doors are opened, while the inadvertent deployment of the emergency chute, for instance, can cause a worker to fall from height.

Preventing falls from height

The nature of airside operations means working at height is a common requirement. Where it is not feasible to eliminate such a hazard, a PPE system must be selected and used. Regulations require that a Height Safety System be used where there is potential for health and safety risk from a fall. A Height Safety System includes a full-body harness, an anchorage connector and an immediate attachment. This should anchor the worker to a fixed point on the work area. For optimal worker safety source your PPE and protective workwear and accessories from an established and reputable supplier, who will ensure that Height Safety systems are CE certified and conform to the relevant standards (category 3 – PPE against mortal or serious and irreversible danger).

Even when working at height using a Height Safety System, there are other potential hazards that need to be addressed. There is the potential for harm due to the pendulum effect. The level of risk from a fall and subsequent swing into the side of the aircraft or other upright is calculated by the angle between the vertical and the worker. The greater the angle, the higher the risk of injury or worse. It is also essential to calculate the appropriate length of the lanyard between the worker and the vertical, as the worker must be stopped mid-air by the lanyard.

Height safety concerns

The HSE’s reports of a decline in injuries from falls from a height demonstrates the effects of excellent policies and practices and, undoubtedly, the use of proper procedures and appropriate height safety equipment.

Contact Contego Aviation Solutions, your one-stop manufacturer, supplier and distributor of safety clothing and PPE equipment for the aviation industry, to discuss solutions to your height safety concerns. Part of Contego Safety Solutions, Contego Aviation Solutions is a specialist supplier of protective clothing and equipment to the aviation industry.

For help and advice, or details of the full Contego Aviation Solutions range download the Catalogue now, visit our website or contact our friendly team on 0800 122 3323 or