RH - Rotorhub

Bar-Coded tools boosts safety

3rd February 2009 - 11:05 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


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Bristow, the leading supplier of helicopter services globally, is pioneering a unique initiative to boost aviation safety by introducing bar-coding to their tool control.

It is envisaged the system, trialled in Aberdeen and due to be rolled out across Bristow's European Business Unit, will become a global example of best practice.

The tool control system utilises the Snap-on brand of tools and ensures all maintenance tools are individually coded, tracked by Asset Management Software T.C. Max, and scanned out to a particular employee for use on a specific aircraft.

Once the job is complete they are all scanned back in and, should any items not be accounted for, they are immediately flagged up by computer, alerting engineers to the discrepancy.

The initiative means they can verify every item in the 450-plus piece toolbox and any risk of equipment being left in an aircraft following maintenance is minimised.

Bristow engineering manager in Aberdeen, John Wilson, said: "We are the first aviation company in Aberdeen to bar code tools and it is making a big improvement in efficiency and safety.

"We have a large engineering staff here and previously they all had their own toolkits. This means they now all have access to state-of-the-art toolboxes with a uniform set of top quality, brand new tools - and we always know where each item is at any given time.

"We have made a substantial investment in this initiative which underlines our commitment to Bristow's Target Zero best practice programme and to delivering the best service to clients and passengers."

Bristow Aberdeen is currently working with these new toolboxes, including specialised kits for sheet metal work and avionics. The roll out will see kits heading for Bristow's bases at Scatsta in the Shetlands, Norwich and Den Helder in The Netherlands.

And in another new safety initiative, Bristow has introduced specially-adapted helmets for staff working at height.

The headgear, based on mountaineering helmets with the additional protection of ear defenders, is an extra safety precaution in line with the company's Target Zero ethos of no harm, no accidents.

They are being used by engineers servicing helicopters and by pilots carrying out pre-flight checks on their aircraft.

Mr Wilson said: "It is all part of our safety offering to all members of staff and they will have to be worn by anyone involved in any movement through height. Some of the new aircraft are much larger than other models but we have now made the wearing of the safety helmets mandatory, no matter what height they are working at.

"These two initiatives aptly illustrate how Bristow continually strives to put the safety culture at the forefront of our thinking company-wide."


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