The kinds of settings where work in engineering is carried out can be quite different, based on the task to be completed and whether it is done in or outside of the helicopter. Therefore, engineers must be aware of their own safetyregardless of location, and have management in charge of the procedures. Maintenance or repairs that require a lot of effort generally occur in a hangar or protected setting, however, based on the particular operation line maintenance might be necessary in remote areas in extreme weather conditions and with the smallest infrastructure.
The dangers associated with maintenance work for helicopters is like fixed-wing aircrafts and include the risk due to the non-linear design of the aircraft, as well as the complex maintenance tasks. Because of the frequent maintenance necessary to keep helicopters safe and operational and safe, the risk of exposure to dangers like working at heights, is much greater than fixed-wing aircraft maintenance tasks. While helicopters tend to be smaller than fixed-wing aircraft, the size of their rotor assemblies as well as mechanical components still present a substantial chance of injury from falls. In particular elimination and repair of main components of the helicopter or its parts can be a risky task and the presence of blades that rotate pose additional dangers for accessibility and maintenance.
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Responsibility of the employer
If working at heights is an individual task or an integral part of an engineer’s everyday routine an assessment of risk must be completed to pinpoint any potential risks that could arise from the job, in order that the appropriate measures to prevent accidents are taken.
In 2005, the new Work at Height Regulations were put in place that placed employers with new legal obligations to ensure that their equipment like platforms and ladders, that were used to help workers work at any height reduced the chance of falling, and offered adequate protection for workers.
Two years later, in accordance with the Work at Height (Amendment) Regulations 2007, whenever the worker is obliged to work at heights the person who is the employer, manager or project supervisor and foreman as well as any other person who supervises the work of other workers must be sure that:
- The work that is done at height must be well planned and organized.
- Workers who are working at heights are competent.
- The risk is evaluated and the appropriate equipment for work is chosen and utilized.
- The dangers of fragile surfaces are effectively monitored.
- Equipment used for working at heights is regularly inspected and maintained.
The employer’s responsibility is to ensure that accessible equipment and equipments are secure for employees and others to utilize. The appropriate and efficient measures should be taken to avoid anyone falling from a height that could cause injury to their personal. Employers should not permit any person to perform any task that involves working at heights unless they are proficient and have completed adequate training. Employers who fail to or fails to reduce risks to ensure safety of workers is liable in the event that anyone who is in their care suffers serious injury while working at the height.
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Access equipment and steps
In the rotorcraft industry the accessibility requirements for refinishing and engineering can be quite different. Refinishing might require working platforms that are that are not ideal for work in engineering as well as the space required between the the working platform can differ. In the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) states that employers must to provide secure access for all needs, which is a matter of careful planning access arrangements are subject to changes as work progresses during the day.
The industry today has an array of equipment for ground and access which allows engineers to perform their maintenance tasks in a safe manner. The design and type of access equipment and steps is dependent on the size and style of the helicopter. Most helicopter operators need to have customized access equipment that ensures the needs of the aircraft are met and to protect the safety of the engineers working at heights. The equipment employed must provide security while adhering the safety regulations.