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Hazards and Solutions

Many airline workers may be unaware of the potential hazards in their work environment, which makes them more vulnerable to injury. The following references aid in recognizing and controlling hazards which may be present in the airline industry.

Ground Crew

Please see the OSHA-Airline Ground Safety Panel (AGSP) Alliance page for helpful products pertaining to Ground Crew.

Gate Crew

Passengers with Special Needs - Access to the plane and assistance during the flight is a responsibility of the airline and airport.

  • Access to Air Travel for Disabled Persons and Persons with Reduced Mobility - Code of Practice. United Kingdom Department for Transport (DfT), (July 2008). Provides information about seat allocation, emergency procedure information, catering, assistance dogs, disembarkation, transfer arrangements, and baggage retrieval for the disabled passenger.
  • Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Transportation Security Administration. Describes new security regulations and allowance for prescriptions needed by persons with disabilities and medical conditions.
  • Disabled travellers - a guide for airline operators. Australian Government Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Provides extensive information about boarding, aisle chairs, and battery-operated wheelchairs.
  • What travellers need and can expect. Australian Government Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Provides extensive information for all airline passengers and additional information for the disabled.

Policies Regarding Special Needs - Below are some typical policies from selected airlines regarding assisting passengers with disabilities.

Ground Service Equipment

  • 54-Year-Old Certified Electrician Dies in North Carolina. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fatal Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program Report 86-47. Reports an incident involving a 54-year-old partner of an electrical contracting company (a certified electrician) who was electrocuted while he repaired airport runway lights. The lights were energized before the task was completed.
  • Controlling Carbon Monoxide Hazard in Aircraft Refueling Operations. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 84-106, (February 1984). NIOSH investigators conducted an evaluation of the occupational health hazards of workers who fuel jet aircrafts. Discusses how dangerous concentrations of CO were found in truck cabs where workers spend a considerable amount of time sitting in idling vehicles.
  • Safe access to aircraft for catering operations. Health and Safety Executive (HSE), (May 2008). Provides guidance for inspectors in preventing falls from height during the catering of aircrafts, and when opening aircraft doors.
  • Report to Congress: Injuries and Fatalities of Workers Struck by Vehicles on Airport Aprons (PDF). U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), (July 2002). The Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR-21) requires the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to study injuries to airport apron workers struck by vehicles and to investigate actions to enhance apron worker safety.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Safety and Health Requirements Manual. Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health (elcosh), (2003).


  • Baggage Handling: Ramp. OSHA eTool. Addresses hazards associated with plane side loading and unloading using manual, semi-automated, and automated baggage systems.
  • Ramp Safety. Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) Directline, (June, 1996). Provides an overview of ramp operations and recommendations to avoid ramp operation incidents.

Ticket Counter

Flight Crew


Cockpit Crew

  • Flight Safety Digest. Flight Safety Foundation (FSF). Addresses general flight and cockpit safety issues.

Flight Attendants

  • Cabin Crew Safety. Flight Safety Foundation (FSF). Links to archives dating back to 1988.
  • Flight attendants are also responsible for assisting passengers with special needs. See Gate Crew for additional information.

For additional information regarding identifying and controlling the hazards associated with the airline industry, see OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Pages on:

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
Seasonal Flu

*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300.

**eBooks - EPUB is the most common format for e-Books. If you use a Sony Reader, a Nook, or an iPad you can download the EPUB file format. If you use a Kindle, you can download the MOBI file format.

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