Working at Height

Each year in the air transport and aviation industry, HSE receives reports of employees injuring themselves after failing from a height.  Many of major injuries occur during:

  • aircraft maintenance;
  • getting in or out of aircraft;
  • working on or from service equipment such as belt loaders, catering high loaders etc.

General precautions to reduce the risk of a fall

These simple measures should help to reduce the risk of a fall.

  • Where possible, avoid work at height.
  • Provide working platforms with suitable edge protection.
  • Ensure that any adjustable edge protection has been properly set.
  • Provide suitable edge protection or keep shut any openings in the aircraft fuselage (eg doors).
  • Make sure that the access equipment used is stable.
  • Maintain the access equipment.
  • Train the people using the access equipment to use it in a safe and proper manner.
  • Monitor the people undertaking the work to ensure that they follow your procedures in a safe manner.

Case Study – Virgin Atlantic – Maintenance Steps

This case study is provided by Virgin Atlantic on aircraft maintenance steps. The company identified that a number of accidents happened when using maintenance steps. By working with a manufacturer they have greatly improved the design and safety features to the steps.

Further information

Further information can be found in the following guidance prepared for HSE operational use:

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Updated 2024-06-06