DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. – Each year, the Air Force experiences numerous fall mishaps that lead to lost man hours and, in some cases, fatalities. As a result, the Air Force has focused on preventing these mishaps as much as possible through training and safety equipment to keep Airmen safe.
Keeping with this focus on safety, the 94th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron recently acquired several mobile fall protection systems to improve the safety of maintainers and operators as they perform their duties on the aircraft.
“The new machine we purchased is a mobile fall protection system called the Exosphere 4x4,” said Maj. Brandon Rodts, 94th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. “We decided to move forward and procure these systems in an effort to be the tip of the spear and ensure we give our maintainers and operators the active fall protection they deserve.”
The wing purchased five of these new systems, with a goal of purchasing three more in the near future, Rodts said.
Although there are already fall protection measures in place here and throughout the Air Force, the goal of this new mobile system is to make it even easier and safer for Airmen to work on the aircraft.
The mission might dictate these Airmen walking around on top of the aircraft for any number of reasons – to conduct inspections, perform maintenance, etc. The goal of the new fall protection system will help ensure that it doesn’t cause additional burden on Airmen as they perform these important duties required to keep the aircraft ready to fly, Rodts explained.
The new system works a lot like a cherry picker, but instead of a bucket on top, it has an arm with a pulley where Airmen can attach harnesses. In the event of a fall, the pulley locks in place, much like a seatbelt in a car, and prevents them from hitting the ground.
Since the equipment is new, the squadron commander recognizes that there will be kinks to work out as he begins incorporating their use in the everyday work schedule of his maintainers, but it’s a challenge he’s willing to accept if it means providing a safer work environment, he said.
“Our intent is to slowly walk into this whole process and develop a program and a way that we can employ these on the flightline, in the hangars, and when we go TDY to provide that active fall protection we’d like our folks to have.”
With its ease of use and easy mobility, these systems will help prevent mishaps and keep Airmen at Dobbins safe as they perform their important duties.