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.
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.
- 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.
- Flight Safety Digest. Flight Safety Foundation (FSF). Addresses general flight and cockpit safety issues.
Please see the OSHA-Airline Ground Safety Panel (AGSP) Alliance page for helpful products pertaining to Ground 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.
- Disability Assistance. British Airways.
- Customers with Disabilities. Southwest Airlines.
- Mobility and Wheelchair Assistance. Alaska Airlines.
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).
- Airfield Operations. Provides safety and health requirements for airfield operations.
- 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.
- Baggage Handling: Baggage Make-up Room. OSHA eTool. Addresses possible hazards and solutions associated with baggage cart loading and unloading, and general make-up room hazards.
- Alaska Airlines Evaluation of Customer Service Agents. State of Washington Department of Labor and Industries, (October 2001). Provides project evaluation of customer service agents (CSAs) for one airline at SeaTac International Airport.
For additional information regarding identifying and controlling the hazards associated with the airline industry, see OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Pages on:
- Computer Workstations
- Ebola Virus [includes guidance for airline industry]
- Fall Protection
- Occupational Heat Exposure
- Occupational Noise Exposure
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Respiratory Protection
- SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) [includes guidance for airline industry]
- Seasonal Flu