Chapter 11. Safety, Ground Operations, & Servicing

Aircraft maintenance technicians devote a portion of their aviation career to ground handling and operating aircraft. Technicians also need to be proficient in operating ground support equipment. The complexity of support equipment and the hazards involved in the ground handling of aircraft require that maintenance technicians possess a detailed knowledge of safety procedures used in aircraft servicing, taxiing, runup, and in the use of ground support equipment. The information provided in this chapter is intended as a general guide for safely servicing and operating aircraft.

Human factors should be introduced to aircraft maintenance personnel to make them aware of how it affects the maintenance performed. Although there are many factors involved when dealing with human performance, several areas can be considered. Some of these include fatigue, deadline pressure, stress, distractions, poor communication skills, complacency, and lack of information. Maintenance technicians should be aware of how human factors can affect their performance and safety while performing maintenance practices.

Shop Safety

Keeping hangars, shop, and the flight line orderly and clean is essential to safety and efficient maintenance. The highest standards of orderly work arrangements and cleanliness should be observed during the maintenance of aircraft.

Where continuous work shifts are established, the outgoing shift should remove and properly store personal tools, rollaway boxes, all workstands, maintenance stands, hoses, electrical cords, hoists, crates, and boxes that were needed for the work to be accomplished.

Signs should be posted to indicate dangerous equipment or hazardous conditions. There should also be signs that provide the location of first aid and fire equipment.

Safety lanes, pedestrian walkways, and fire lanes should be painted around the perimeter inside the hangars. This is a safety measure to prevent accidents and to keep pedestrian traffic out of work areas.

Safety is everyone’s business, and communication is key to ensuring everyone’s safety. Technicians and supervisors should watch for their own safety and for the safety of others working around them. If other personnel are conducting their actions in an unsafe manner, communicate with them, reminding them of their safety and that of others around them.

Electrical Safety

Physiological Safety

Working with electrical equipment poses certain physiological safety hazards. It is known that when electricity is applied to the human body, it can create severe burns in the area of entrance to and at the point of exit from the body. In addition, the nervous system is affected and can be damaged or destroyed.

To safely deal with electricity, the technician must have a working knowledge of the principles of electricity, and a healthy respect for its capability to do both work and damage.

Wearing or use of proper safety equipment can provide a psychological assurance at the same time it physically protects the user. The use of rubber gloves, safety glasses, rubber or grounded safety mats, and other safety equipment contributes to the physiological safety of the technician working on or with electrical equipment.

Two factors that affect safety when dealing with electricity are fear and overconfidence. These two factors are major causes of accidents involving electricity. While both a certain amount of respect for electrical equipment is healthy and a certain level of confidence is necessary, extremes of either can be deadly.

Lack of respect is often due to lack of knowledge. Personnel who attempt to work with electrical equipment and have no knowledge of the principles of electricity lack the skills to deal with electrical equipment safely.

Overconfidence leads to risk taking. The technician who does not respect the capabilities of electricity will, sooner or later, become a victim of electricity’s awesome power.

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