Aviation maintenance is a crucial part of the American transportation industry. Tens of thousands of planes take off and land safely every day because of the hard work of maintenance professionals. Unfortunately, working with aircraft can place employees at an elevated risk of occupational diseases.
Why is aviation maintenance dangerous?
Maintaining aircraft involves a complex group of skills including diagnosing, cleaning, restoring, testing and replacing equipment. These tasks expose workers to all of the following dangers:
- Inhalation of carbon monoxide and other dangerous fumes
- Repetitive stress from handling heavy tools
- Vibration injuries and other ergonomic issues
- Toxic spills and skin irritation
- Hearing loss from aircraft noise
- Kidney disease from chemical exposure
Every Chicago airlines employees compensation lawyer knows that these conditions can be traumatic and even career-ending in some cases.
Hearing loss among aviation maintenance technicians
According to statistics compiled by the Federal Aviation Administration, aircraft maintenance technicians who suffer noise-induced hearing loss on the job often find their hearing impaired by more than 20 decibels in common speech frequencies. This level of loss can make it difficult or impossible to follow normal conversations. Hearing loss caused by aircraft noise is not reversible because it destroys the fine hairs in the inner ear. Once the ability to hear certain tones is lost, it is gone forever.
Skin irritation during aircraft maintenance
Severe skin irritation is another common side effect of exposure to harmful stimuli on the ramp. Chemicals in lubricating oils and hydraulic fluids can cause contact dermatitis after as little as one second of exposure. These chemicals can also trigger allergies and long-term sensitivity, as a Chicago airlines employees compensation lawyer is aware. Many maintenance workers do not use sufficient protective clothing when they work with dangerous substances. They have the right to full safety equipment and thorough training about the substances they handle on the job.
Carbon monoxide accumulation
Carbon monoxide is a major cause of occupational illness in and around aircraft. In one recent case, a fueler was killed by CO accumulation inside the cab of his fuel truck after high winds and exhaust leaks drove the hazardous gas into his environment. FAA studies have shown elevated levels of CO in the bloodstream and respiratory system of mechanics who spend full days on the ramp.
Aviation maintenance technicians perform a very important job on a tight schedule. They have the right to a safe work environment. Ramp workers who are living with an occupational disease should consider contacting a Chicago airlines employees compensation lawyer today.