A helicopter was being boarded on the forward side.
A member of the crew crossed a hard barrier (stairway access chain) with a restriction sign and approached the flight deck from the aft stairway.
Another worker tried to stop him by shouting a warning.
Crew member carried on approaching the helicopter and passed underneath the tail rotor blades.
Distance between the crew member and the tail was 2m (6ft). Fortunately, no injury occurred.
Why did it happen?
Crew member did not follow standard safety rules (removed the safety barrier and passed under the tail rotor).
Incorrect judgement - He believed it was the correct course of action and did not perceive it as a violation.
Crew member was not escorted when ascending the stairs.
No signalman was guarding the safety barrier.
Helicopter landing officer (HLO) lost control of the situation.
Helideck readiness check was not effective:
- Passenger embarkation had been delayed by handover.
What did they learn?
Improve clarity on access routes in use for helicopter embarkation and provide dedicated facilities for personnel and baggage.
During helicopter briefings, ensure passengers understand reasons for following the rules and the consequences for deliberately not following them.
Ensure risk assessments, procedures, and safety management systems (SMS) are up-to-date and understood by all operational staff.
Always account for human factors when designing safety systems.
- Consider how human error can reduce the effectiveness of physical barriers.
Ask yourself or your crew
What were the risks to the crew member and other workers on the helideck because of his actions?
What are the standard safety rules on helidecks?
How do you ensure that all workers adhere to safety standards?
- What would you do if you saw someone breaking the rules? How can you challenge their actions?
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A helicopter was being boarded on the forward side. A member of the crew approached the flight deck from the aft stairway and passed underneath the tail rotor blades.