Aircraft Fall Protection

Overhead Fall Protection For Aircraft Maintenance

Aviation mechanics generally work above the hanger floor or tarmac and need suitable fall arrest systems. Click here to learn about rigid rail fall protection for aircraft maintenance.

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Published on: July 26, 2022

Falls are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths. This is true for workers in various industries, including aircraft maintenance. Thus, facility managers need to set up appropriate fall protection systems in the workplace to avoid hazards and prevent deaths and serious injuries.

Overhead Fall Protection For Aircraft Maintenance

This article will focus on fall protection systems for aircraft maintenance. Aviation technicians generally work above the hangar floor and tarmac, and with the added risk of narrow stabilizers, hydraulic fluid, environmental conditions, etc., their risk of falling increases. Designing fall protection systems for aircraft maintenance is quite complex as you must consider the building structure, aircraft type, positioning, and limited interruption.

Despite the challenges, multiple aviation fall protection systems are available, among which rigid rail fall protection solutions offer the best protection. Let’s find out how.

Rigid Rail Fall Protection Systems

Overhead Fall Protection For Aircraft Maintenance

Rigid rail fall protection systems are ideal for indoor and outdoor applications and have minimum fall clearance. The system consists of 3 parts; an anchor that runs along an engineered I-beam, rail, or an enclosed track system, a body harness that the user wears, along with a connecting device that joins the anchor trolley and the body harness of a worker at height and is shock-absorbing.

But why are rigid rail fall protection systems ideal for aircraft maintenance? If used properly, the rigid lifeline setup will arrest the worker’s fall much quicker than similar products. Since the aviation workplace is congested and you don’t know how big or small of an aircraft you will be working on, the distance needs to be shorter.

How It Works

Rigid rail systems have two basic forms. The first one has enclosed tracks and a self-retracting lanyard, providing a worker with a continuous and secure connection to the fall arrest system. Workers can safely travel the length of the rail with continuous tie-off, which is ideal for vertical and horizontal planes.

The second form occurs in conjunction with existing I-beams. Extra structural steel supports are also added if the existing I-beams are not in the proper location for a fall arrest system.

Benefits Of Rigid Rail Fall Protection Systems

Overhead Fall Protection For Aircraft Maintenance

Durable And Reliable

Rigid rail fall protection systems are extremely reliable. The enclosed tracks prevent dust, grim, snow and debris from building up and enable workers to move safely and freely in both indoor and outdoor applications. Moreover, all structures are hot-dip galvanized to offer increased control and eliminate corrosion.

Fall Clearance

A rigid rail system is much better than a traditional wire rope system because it has reduced sag and can stop the fall at a shorter distance. This is ideal for aviation workplaces as the external variables are constantly changing.

Multiple Users

It also has a user bypass capability. This enables multiple users to be connected to a single system by adding multi-tracks. It helps increase mobility and work performance as workers do not have to disconnect from the system to let another worker pass or worry about getting tangled up with each other.

Reduce Secondary Fall Injuries

Rigid rail fall protection systems have limited deflection, which is good for preventing secondary injuries. For instance, in a traditional wire rope system, the cable sag causes the worker to travel to the nearest point of the center supports during a fall. This is dangerous as the worker can collide with nearby obstacles.

System Features

The rigid rail fall protection system is cost-effective because it requires fewer materials and is easier to install. Moreover, workers can work in constricted places together without the risk of colliding with each other or surrounding walls and obstacles. What’s more, the rigid rail fall protection system can be modified according to the workplace and allow both forward and backward movement.

Types Of Rigid Rail Fall Protection Systems For Aircraft Maintenance

Now that you know the advantages of a rigid rail system, let’s discuss the types available for aircraft maintenance and how they help.

Single Rigid Rail

Overhead Fall Protection For Aircraft Maintenance

The single rigid rail system is perfect for you if you have an area with tight clearances. The system helps with long drops, light structures, and complex angles. The system is completely hands-free and has a 1:100 movement-to-weight ratio, enabling the system to remain overhead at all times. Moreover, it also has an optional multi-user bypass option, giving each worker their own enclosed track and optimizing workflow.

Cartesian Bridge Rail

Overhead Fall Protection For Aircraft Maintenance

The cartesian bridge rail system is similar to the single rigid rail system, but only in a bridge format. It has recently gained popularity because it enables facility managers to change the layout of operations without reconfiguring the fall protection system. Bridge rails cover a larger area for protection and can be positioned anywhere along the runway, making them an ideal solution for aircraft maintenance.

The bridge can be manually moved and adjusted where fall protection is required.


Rigid rail fall protection systems are ideal for aircraft maintenance and help increase mobility and ease of work. The flexibility and expansion feature makes it favorable for industries where work operation parameters constantly change. For more information, Reach out to Flexible Lifeline Systems. They are industry experts with over 20 years of experience in fall protection systems and offer multiple rigid rail system options. Call now for a consultation.

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