Air travel is an important part of the American economy. Many business and leisure travelers pack heavy bags full of clothing, gifts and other personal goods. Ramp workers can decrease the risk of injury by handling luggage with proper ergonomic techniques.
Risks of loading and unloading luggage
Loading and unloading luggage is a strenuous activity, as a Chicago United Airlines employees compensation lawyer knows. Much of the hard work is still done by hand, despite the common availability of high tech equipment in modern airports. Baggage handling exposes employees to the following major risks:
- Musculoskeletal injury from dealing with heavy, awkwardly shaped or oversize luggage
- Repetitive trauma from long-term handling
- Head or neck injury from falling bags and suitcases
- Amputations from beltloader misuse or malfunction
All of these injury risks can lead to temporary or permanent disability among ramp employees. Some baggage handlers must change careers or retire after a severe injury on the job.
Improved ergonomics while manually handling luggage
Workers who handle large pieces of luggage can use ergonomic best practices to cut their risk of serious musculoskeletal trauma. Ramp agents should always stretch joints and muscles before a work shift. Using special tags to identify overweight bags can be a valuable aid to employee awareness. Twisting or reaching while lifting is always hazardous and may cause serious injury.
Improved ergonomics while using beltloaders and carts
Many baggage handling injuries occur while bags are transferred between beltloaders and carts. Workers should always stand at a proper distance from the cart and adjust the beltloader to create a smooth transition. If the end of the belt is too low or too high, incorrect ergonomics may cause serious injuries, as a Chicago United Airlines employees compensation lawyer is aware.
Avoiding the risk of repetitive stress
A full shift of handling heavy luggage can put great strain on the body. Workers have the right to sufficient rest breaks and must not be asked to work at excessive speeds. As airports become busier, baggage handlers need protection from unfair work practices. Once a repetitive stress injury occurs, it can be very difficult to recover from. The best solution is prevention.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, more than 28,000 commercial flights take off and land in the U.S. every day. The sheer volume of checked baggage can cause serious occupational trauma for baggage handlers. Injured ramp employees should consider speaking with a Chicago United Airlines employees compensation lawyer.