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Frontiers August 2013 Issue

BEOING FRNOT IERS / AUGUST 2013 21 in Queensland, Australia. Boeing Defence Australia’s team at Oakey maintains Black Hawk and Kiowa training helicopters, and trains new army pilots and maintenance technicians. A change in Australian regulations last year required the use of proper fall protection when working high off the ground servicing helicopters. “It means we couldn’t go up on the aircraft and make adjustments,” Welsh said. Instead, the helicopters had to be pulled into one of the center’s hangars, where mechanics could use work stands to adjust rotorblades and other parts. If a helicopter had to make an unscheduled landing due to an operational issue, following the new regulation became an even bigger issue. “We can’t take work stands out to a farmer’s field to remove the rotors when that happens,” Welsh explained. Simon Pettitt and Glenn Philips, both aircraft mechanics at Oakey, developed a solution that meets the new regulation and improves safety. Consisting of a clamp that attaches to the rotor mast and a fall-arrest harness, the system won Australian Defence Force approval earlier this year and is now used regularly by the Boeing team. “The reason it’s made the work safer is because it gives you a secure anchor point on the aircraft on which to attach,” Welsh said. “Also, you don’t have to go up and down a ladder or platform all the time now.” Half a world away, on the 767 production line in Everett, rocket fuel and helicopter rotors are nowhere to be seen, but a safety misstep still can lead to serious injury—including a hard strike to the head. An open cargo door on the 767 fuselage is at just the right height for a mechanic to run into while working on the airplane. Mike Hurst, a team lead and safety representative, with help from his teammates and Dino Go of Boeing Research & Technology, found an inexpensive and effective way to call attention to the hazard: flashing LED lights that attach with suction cups to the open cargo door. “The safety lights are useful not just for us, but also for visitors that come through,” said Kim Wyeth, a 767/747 seal technician. “When we have visitors that are not familiar with this area, they are prone to hitting their head.” While improving safety on the job means putting on special equipment, making sure training is up to date or even just taking an extra moment to make sure everyone knows how to avoid an incident, it’s well worth the effort, Wyeth and other employees stress. “This is about everybody’s safety,” said Welsh, the Kiowa team leader in Queensland. “You’re always thinking of better ways to do things, safer ways to do things.” n eric.c.fetters-walp@boeing.com PHOTOS: (Counterclockwise from top left) Near Taft, Calif., Boeing Test & Evaluation’s John Engstrand, from left, Ernie Tamayo and Jeremy Bojorquez leave the dressing room in protective suits and carrying air bottles while escorted by Bill Pulliam; Bojorquez monitors the propellant tanks; Jeremy Strom helps Bojorquez safely don his protective suit; Pulliam inspects safety equipment to validate its certification. Bob Ferguson/Boeing Mike Hurst, 767 team and safety lead in Everett, Wash., secures new LED safety lights by their suction cups to a cargo door on the 767 fuselage. Kymberly VanDlac/Boeing Brad Carthew re-torques the main rotor on a Bell 206B1 Kiowa helicopter while attached to the free-fall arrest unit, protecting him in the event of a fall; Boeing Defence Australia employee Nathan Brant’s safety harness is clipped into the free-fall arrest unit prior to working on a Bell 206B1 Kiowa helicopter; the single-point anchorage free-fall arrest unit developed by the Boeing Defence Australia team in Oakey, Queensland. heidi snowdon/Boeing


Frontiers August 2013 Issue
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