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OSHA guidelines for the airline industry

| May 5, 2014 | Workers’ Compensation

The airline industry serves millions of people around the world every year, but little is publicly known about injuries sustained by these workers in work-related accidents, and any changes airlines may be making to increase safety for the workers who provide these services. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration provides clear instructions and information on their website on the efforts airlines with Illinois workers can take to reduce and eliminate instances of workplace injuries within the industry.

Catering operations

Aircraft catering vehicles should be designed and built in accordance with basic safety requirements outlined by OSHA. These requirements include edge protection when possible, which can prevent the vehicles from tipping over or suffering some other mishap, causing harm to employees. To protect employees from unnecessary injuries when they are working on elevated platforms outside the plane, OSHA requires the use of a fall protection system. In addition, the machine that lifts the platform needs to be de-rated – meaning that adjustments must be made to keep the machine strong enough to lift the platform while also keeping the platform balanced so that it doesn’t fall.

OSHA outlines carrier use as well. Carriers are primarily used by repairmen and workers operating on the outside of the airplane. They are designed to raise workers to a controlled height and usually consist of a box structure atop a platform that can be raised and lowered at will. The box can be closed or open to varying degrees. Workers should only be lifted in carriers that are clearly designated as suitable for the task, even if workers feel other equipment is capable of lifting them safely. Approved lifts should also be evaluated to determine the maximum number of people who can safely work on the platform at one time, in addition to any equipment that may be present to prevent equipment failure which could lead to falls.

Ramp workers

Only trained workers should perform baggage handling. Each worker should know the potential hazards associated with their work and how to counteract those hazards through their own actions. These actions include proper lifting techniques and stretching exercises which can loosen and strengthen muscles that may be susceptible to strain and injury in repetitive stress situations.

OSHA also requires airlines to employ the use of heavy luggage tags. These tags alert workers to luggage items that are heavier so they don’t unnecessarily injure themselves when they try to pick up the luggage pieces. Additionally, all luggage carts should be parked no further than three to five feet from beltloaders to minimize the distances workers must carry the bags.

No matter the role individuals play in the airline industry, OSHA outlines standards and policies to which airlines and airports must adhere in order to ensure the safety of their crew. Illinois workers who have been involved in a workplace injury within the airline industry should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss their situation.