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Inspect Your Aircraft Safely with Fall Protection by WinGrip®

Wing Inspection with Fall Protection by MSA Latchways

Why Fall Protection is Crucial in Aviation Maintenance

In 2022, 30 aircraft mechanics in the United States (US) were severely injured while working, according to new data released by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This is double the yearly average of 15 severely injured aircraft mechanics recorded between 2015 and 2021 (with 19 recorded in 2017).

12 of these 30 severe injuries were falls, resulting in fractures, amputations, internal injuries, and puncture wounds. Seeing as falls made up the largest portion of the severe injuries recorded in 2022, it is clear more needs to be done to prevent them in the first place.


Which Fall Protection Solution Can I Use for My Employees' Safety

The manufacturer MSA Safety is combatting falls in the aviation industry by providing the vacuum-based fall protection solution known as the MSA Latchways WinGrip System.

This ground support equipment (GSE) is designed for fixed wing aircraft maintenance, fuselage inspection, as well as light aircraft manufacturing and maintenance, and can be fixed to the wings, fuselage, or stabilisers of an aircraft. Workers wearing full-body harnesses attach to the system through work positioning ropes, enabling hands-free maintenance access.

MSA says the lightweight (6kg) system is tested and rated for fall arrest, and engineered to safely support twice the expected load, limiting load transferred to the aircraft structure.

It is approved for use on the entire Boeing aircraft fleet and listed in the Airbus Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM) as the only system to be used for fall protection on any Airbus aircraft.


Flexible, Versatile, and Intrinsically Safe Fall Protection

The WinGrip® range now consists of four systems and has been designed in a modular way, incorporating interchangeable components. This gives users more choice and flexibility when resolving worker fall protection issues.

All four WinGrip fall protection solutions are easy to install and run on compressed air or nitrogen, removing the requirement for electricity. They are therefore not only usable in both wet and dry conditions, inside and outside the hangar, but also usable around open fuel tanks. Additionally, WinGrip has been independently tested to meet all relevant international standards, while no metal-on-metal contact protects the aircraft surface and minimizes the sparking risk.



The Four WinGrip® Aviation Fall Protection Solutions

MSA Latchways WinGrip® All-in-One (AIO) System – Remote Flightline Line Maintenance Checks

MSA also offers the Latchways WinGrip All-in-One (AIO) System vacuum anchor, which is designed for flightline or quick hangar tasks.

The company says the certified fall arrest system and fall restraint system are intended for personnel working on aircraft during manufacturing or maintenance operations.

Due to its lightweight, compact, and intrinsically safe design, the WinGrip AIO System can be used inside or outside. As the System is powered by either compressed air or nitrogen, MSA says the working temperature range varies from arctic freezing to extreme desert.

Additionally, the company says the WinGrip AIO System is quick to deploy and easy to use on walking wing areas or structural fuselage sections and features a removable and rechargeable gas bottle.

Once the vacuum pad has been locked into place, users can attach to the system by wearing a full-body harness and work positioning ropes to enable hands-free access for all required maintenance.


MSA Latchways WinGrip® Single-User System – Short-Term Fall Protection for One Worker

Since 1999, the WinGrip System vacuum anchor has provided a single fall protection anchor point for a single worker on the wings, fuselage, or stabilisers of an aircraft. Designed for line maintenance and other short-term work, the anchor is positioned, and vacuum locked into place.

While in use, the worker wears a full-body harness with a safety lanyard and work positioning rope connected to the vacuum anchor, providing a 10ft (3m) safe working radius for comfortable hands-free movement. Additionally, two vacuum anchors can be used to triangulate and fix worker positioning.

MSA says the WinGrip System can be installed and used in minutes, additional workers can be supported with extra WinGrip vacuum pads, and it is easily upgraded to the Lifeline System.


MSA Latchways WinGrip® Lifeline System – Heavy Maintenance and Long Access

The WinGrip Horizontal Lifeline System can accommodate up to four workers along the entire length of a wing or fuselage for construction, heavy maintenance, or return operations.

This wingwalking lifeline system consists of two-ended anchor vacuum pads with cables spanning in between, and intermediate anchors used as needed to suit any cable length. Each anchor is positioned and vacuumed locked in place, followed by stainless steel safety cables connected and tensioned at one end.

MSA says workers connect cables using the unique Latchways shuttle while employing full-body harnesses and work position ropes. This enables hands-free movement along the entire cable length, while the shuttles glide over intermediate anchors.


MSA Latchways WinGrip® Barrier System – For Any Duration Without Harnesses

The WinGrip® Barrier System is designed as a working-at-height solution during aircraft manufacturing and maintenance. The system can be installed by a single user and provides an enclosed environment for unlimited workers indefinitely.

WinGrip® Barrier System reduces fall risk by providing superior safety at heights, with workers only requiring basic training to work within the system without needing harnesses and lanyards.

The system consists of upright stanchions connected at the base to a WinGrip® System vacuum pad, while the stanchion interface is fully adjustable, ensuring correct installation can be achieved on any undulating surface.

Horizontal rails are adjustable in length and angle, allowing any system shape to be installed and adjusted at any time. MSA says the system is scalable from 1m-square to the entire upper surface of an aircraft.


More than 100 Years of Safety Solutions

MSA, who was named as one of the most responsible companies in the US by Newsweek says multiple-user cable-based systems or single-user anchor options can be tailored to each customer’s needs.

Commenting on the nomination by Newsweek, MSA Safety Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Affairs, Stephanie Sciullo says helping to protect people at work has been a single focus of the company for more than a century.

“It’s what inspires our people to design, deliver, and manufacture the world’s leading safety solutions that help to protect the people who put their trust in the MSA brand. This is purpose at work.”


Henchman is a Supplier of Fall Protection Systems in the USA and Australia

Henchman Tools is an international single-source supplier of premium hand and power tools, specialised tooling solutions, and custom-designed toolkits renowned for their superb quality finish and design.

As one of three distributors of MSA’s WinGrip System in Australia, we can import and supply this crucial safety device to any aviation and aerospace companies both locally and internationally.


Do you think MSA Safety’s WinGrip® System could help you work more safely and efficiently?

Send us an email to sales@henchman.com.au or give us a call at +61 2 4956 7111 to find out which WinGrip® System best fits your needs.