Avionics News May 2017 - 35
A is for anchors. Anchors are a secure point of attachment and vary by industry, job, type of installation
and the structure they are attached.
* B is for body support. Body support is typically in
the form of a full-body harness that is specifically
designed to evenly distribute all the forces over the
upper thighs, pelvis, chest and shoulders.
* C is for connectors. Connectors are what attaches
the harness to the attach point and are available in a
variety of types including simple shock-absorbing lanyards to self-retracting lifelines.
* D is for descent and rescue. These are devices that are
used to lower a suspended worker to the ground after
they have experienced a fall.
Ballester explained that the self-retracting lifelines
are a major step forward for the fall-restraint and safety
"It's basically a high-tech lanyard that attaches to the
anchor point on the harness, and it's designed to automatically limit your fall distance," he said. "It works like your
seat belt retraction system. When it senses an acceleration or
fall, it automatically locks up tight.
"The benefit of an SRL is it's easier for the technician to
wear. They won't have lanyards any longer than they need.
Since everything retracts into the unit, they only have the
small restraint box on their back. This design gives them
some length of maneuverability. But should the worker
suffer a fall, it locks up like your car's seat belt. Even at
lower heights, it can make a big difference in safety."
"When speaking of fall protection in particular, not all lanyards, self-retracting lifelines or even harnesses make sense for
every application," stated Anne Osbourn, industrial and utilities
marketing manager at MSA. "The type of work to be preformed
determines the correct type of fall protection to be used."
When it comes to selecting the right fall-protection equipment, one of the biggest and most serious mistakes MRO
operators make is basing their equipage on cost alone.
"Often the need to save costs impedes the ability to purchase the correct fall-protection system," said Carl Cooper,
MSA's aerospace specialist. "For example, a simple singlepoint anchor system versus a more complex (and expensive)
horizontal system limits the amount of space in which users
"A horizontal lifeline system, while possibly more costly,
typically offers workers more mobility and flexibility in the
work that can be accomplished, which potentially increases
If you're working up high, never work alone
Suppose you slip off the top of a business jet's fuselage
and your fall-arrest harness has done its job: You're safely
hanging well off the hangar floor. Nothing is left to do but
Photo courtesy of StandardAero's Augusta, Georgia, facility
To provide maximum fall protection and eliminate the risk of secondary
injuries, all safety equipment must be worn properly at all times.
dangle and wait for someone to come and get you. If only
that were the case.
According to an industry expert, one of the little-known
problems with fall-arrest products is suspension trauma.
"It occurs when the straps of the harness cut off the blood
flow from your legs, and if you hang there too long, you will
faint," he said. "If you're not rescued soon, you risk death due
to the brain not receiving enough oxygen.
"Most harnesses today are being designed and
manufactured with pads to minimize this problem. Another
practice we recommend uses the buddy system. No one
should ever work in an elevated location alone.
"These potentially fatal problems can happen in as few as
15 minutes. Companies are realizing that relying on the fire
department to facilitate a rescue is not good enough."
"Planning for rescue after a fall is critical," Osbourn said.
"Most recently, advancements have been made toward rescue
devices, particularly self-rescue devices that can be used
for lone worker applications. This technology allows for
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