The Importance of Personal Protective Equipment

By AN Jonathan Munsill

Working on the flight deck during flight operations is one of the most exhilarating and dangerous jobs someone could ever perform. Aircraft are rapidly launching and recovering while all around the flight deck, crews are hard at work. While working on the flight deck, safety is paramount and proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential to staying safe.

After servicing engine oil on an E-2C Hawkeye, I was climbing down from the flight deck onto a catwalk; I took my first step and my left foot slipped out from underneath me. The weight of the fluid servicing unit (FSU) and bucket I was carrying overcame my balance, sending me head first into the catwalk. On my way down, I hit my head on something hard before coming to rest on the metal grate of the catwalk. My legs slammed into the stairs before they rolled onto the metal grate. Luckily, I walked away from the incident with only a bump on the head and some bruises. My cranial prevented my head from making direct contact with the deck of the catwalk, preventing serious injury. Had I not been wearing my cranial, I could have suffered a concussion or even lost consciousness. This important piece of PPE did its job and kept me safe.

My cranial had been properly inspected and signed for when I got to work that morning. If I had not done my inspection or used my PPE properly, I would have been seriously hurt in that incident. It only takes a few minutes every day to properly inspect and ensure that your PPE is working properly, and it only takes a few seconds to put it on. Those few minutes were the difference between walking away from the incident and being carried away on a stretcher.

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