Airline Industry

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 that may be present in the airline industry.

Flight Crew

Aircraft Cabin Crewmembers / Flight Attendants

  • FAA Issues Policy to Improve Workplace Safety for Aircraft Cabin Crewmembers. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Press Release, August 22, 2013.
  • FAA’s Aviation Safety & Health Program (ASHP). This webpage includes FAA’s policy, Occupational Safety and Health Standards for Aircraft Cabin Crewmembers, August 21, 2013.
  • NIOSH’s Aircrew Safety and Health. This webpage reviews hazards such as noise/hearing loss, cosmic ionizing radiation, communicable diseases, and musculoskeletal disorders.
    • Evaluation of Symptoms Among Above-Wing Uniformed Airline Employees. NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Report 2022-0061-3393. (November 2023). Investigated health complaints from flight attendants reporting that textile chemicals in new uniforms or the physical irritant properties of the uniform fabrics have caused symptoms such as contact dermatitis and other health effects.
  • 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.

Cockpit Crew

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

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. 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

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