Workers in many industries face a variety of risks when it comes to workplace accidents and injuries. Airport workers are no exception. Sometimes, those risks of injury are inevitable but, as a recent Baltimore Sun report reminds everyone, some regrettably are not. Too many times, the risks airport workers face are the result of inadequate safety protections provided to them. That’s true whether you’re at BWI Airport in Maryland or O’Hare Airport here in Chicago. If you are hurt while on the job at an airport, you should seek skilled Chicago workers’ compensation legal counsel about your possible options in civil court or workers’ compensation.
According to the Sun report, the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health agency recommended that a logistics entity receive citations and several thousand dollars in fines as a result of several workplace safety issues at the BWI Marshall Airport. One of the most serious violations involved work that was being done at the top of jet bridges. The investigation found that the jet bridge work was as high as 25 feet off the ground, but was done by workers who lacked proper fall protection or adequate training, the Sun reported.
That violation was considered the most serious because of its likelihood to lead to serious injury or death. Injuries from falls are among the top causes, or the #1 top cause, of worker fatalities in many areas of work.
There were other hazards for which workers were not provided sufficient protection, according to the investigation. Workers who worked in the airport’s baggage tunnels allegedly dealt with beams, pipes and low ceilings – some of the clearances were less than four feet off the floor. Despite the low clearances, the bag workers were reportedly not provided with hard hats or other forms of head protection.
Closer to home, local airports have also had their own issues with worker safety in the past. Back in 2007, OSHA proposed more than $230,000 of fines against American Airlines after it alleged that American had “multiple serious, repeat and willful violations of federal workplace safety standards” at O’Hare Airport, according to reports.
In that circumstance, the airline allegedly failed to provide protections for workers working near open-sided floors and work platforms, thereby exposing them to the risk of serious or fatal falls. OSHA also alleged that American came up short in terms of protecting workers from trip and fall hazards, blocked exits and electrical issues. Six of the alleged violations were repeat violations.
More recently, a union representing O’Hare workers lodged a complaint with OSHA. SEIU Local 1 asserted its complaints against several contractors, according to an NBC Chicago report. The complaints claimed that the workers were provided with inadequate protection against a variety of hazards, from needles to vomit.
Generally, when you are hurt on the job – whether at an area airport or elsewhere – your only source for much-needed compensation is filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. That isn’t always the case, however. Depending on the exact facts of your accidents and your injuries, you may be able to sue, or both sue and file a workers’ compensation claim. To learn about the full range of options you have, talk to the experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our attorneys have many years of effectively representing injured workers throughout the Chicago area. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.