In America, there are over 98,000 flight attendants who face the risk of injury or death every time they board an aircraft. Some injuries are immediate, while others can develop slowly over time. Since 2003, nearly 34% of flight attendants have reported injuries stemming from their occupation. Moreover, 25% of flight attendants who are injured on the job have to take time away from work while their injuries heal and they recuperate. In some cases, their airlines may hold this time away from work against the employee which can have long-term career consequences that may affect an individual’s immediate income and opportunities for advancement.
Immediate Risks Flight Attendants Face
Flight attendants can be seriously injured at any time before, during, or following a flight. Common sources of injuries include the following:
- Getting run over by food or beverage carts that can weigh around 500 pounds.
- Burns sustained while handling hot beverages, from malfunctioning galley equipment, or from shifting oven racks.
- Slips that occur on galley floors, restroom floors, or on icy walkways or during turbulence.
- Shifting luggage that tumbles from overhead compartments.
- Disruptive passengers who physically assault the flight attendant.
- Exposure to infectious pathogens while performing First Aid.
Flight attendant fatigue is another factor that can pose a serious risk to flight attendants. It’s not uncommon for flight attendants to work 10 to 15 extra hours per month more than previous years. Combined with shorter respite periods and longer duration flights, flight attendant injury lawyers are seeing many accidents and injuries where fatigue is a contributing factor to causing the injury.
Potential for Long-Term Injuries
Aircraft are noisy and cramped. This places considerable strain on flight crews and it puts them at risk for suffering a number of injuries that can develop over time. These include:
- Hearing loss due to continual exposure to engine noise.
- Persistent respiratory infections caused by humidity levels within the aircraft.
- Cancer caused by prolonged exposure to cosmic radiation.
- Cancer caused by exposure to insecticides used to sterilize the aircraft interior.
- Neurological injuries caused by exposure to tricresyl phosphate that can seep into aircraft when engine seals degrade or fail.
- Musculoskeletal injuries caused from lifting luggage into overhead compartments.
Flight attendant injury lawyers work with flight attendants to identify the source of their injuries. Moreover, they assist flight attendants seeking compensation for these injuries and the long-term impact they will have on an individual’s health and career.