Two-thirds of the world's aircrafts are under lockdown. The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world as a whole, and idle planes need a lot of space for parking and tons of maintenance work that requires an even larger workforce. Here is what you, as a maintenance worker, should know about COVID-19.
Why Airplanes Need Maintenance Workers
Airplanes, while grounded and in storage, need a lot of maintenance. You should protect them from corroding, from birds trying to find a nesting place, maintaining hydraulics and control systems. Even when planes are resting on the runway, they need fuel to make sure tanks are lubricated.
Amid these logistical and maintenance issues, we have workers who are working round the clock to keep aircrafts ready to fly again. It is, therefore, essential to keep these workers from contracting the virus while at work.
COVID-19 or Coronavirus disease 2019 is a respiratory illness caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms include fever, dry cough, and difficulty in breathing. The virus spreads mainly from person to person contact or contacting infected droplets. One can also contract a virus through a surface or object that has the virus on it and then by touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.
People most affected by the COVID-19 are those who have an underlying health condition, weak immune system, and older people.
Center for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.
How Can You Protect Yourself As A Maintenance Worker
As an aircraft maintenance worker, you can be exposed to the virus while coming in close contact with the infected person, or touching contaminated surfaces while repairing or cleaning aircraft parts or surfaces and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
To protect yourself from contracting the virus, follow these precautionary steps.
- Keep a distance of at least 6 feet from everyone.
- Regularly disinfect surfaces that are touched frequently, it is best to wear gloves while doing maintenance work.
- Avoid touching your face and eyes at all costs.
- Regularly wash your hands, i.e., between shifts, in work breaks, before eating, after using the washroom, after removing protective equipment and after touching any surface or object with bare hands.
- Dispose of PPE very carefully.
Precautions Based On Various Work Tasks
While working on different parts of an aircraft, there are certain precautionary measures specific to that task that you should practice.
For example, while working on the interior of the plane, in the passenger cabin, make sure to wear PPE and do not use compressed air or water sprays to clean surfaces contacted by passengers as these techniques may aerosolize dangerous pathogens. Cleaning of non-porous surfaces should be done with products that are EPA-approved for infectious pathogens.
While cleaning or repairing air filters, avoid shaking or dropping the filter, do not use compressed air to clean them, and carefully dispose of the filter and gloves after the task is done.
Similarly, during wastewater handling, avoid creating a spray of untreated wastewater. And use employer-provided safety plans to clean the vent and water waste.
These are some of the precautionary measures you should take while repairing or cleaning the aircraft. Apart from these, make sure to ask your employer to provide everyone with safety measures and plans. The pandemic is very real, and make sure you keep yourself and your loved ones safe during this time.