Articles Tagged with Airline Employee Injuries

At the end of 2017, United Airlines (now known as “United Continental Holdings, Inc.” after the merger with Continental Airlines) announced that it would be issuing each of its flight attendants a new Tumi brand bag. In March 2018, United Airlines began requiring its flights attendants use the newly issued two-wheel or four- wheel “rollaboard” Tumi brand bags.

Unfortunately, the transition to the new Tumi brand bags has created numerous issues for United Airlines flight attendants. Almost immediately, United Airlines flight attendants began noticing that these bags are awkward, hard to maneuver, and in some circumstances, even dangerous to use.

As flight attendants already often need to be performing physically strenuous tasks, moving quickly, working in tight and awkward spaces, and lifting, pushing, and pulling heaving luggage, the additional requirement to use these awkward and uncomfortable bags is unfortunately causing injuries to flight attendants’ wrists, arms, shoulder, backs, necks, and legs.

Injuries are a fairly common occurrence among airline ground workers. According to the Flight Safety Foundation, approximately 27,000 accidents and incidents – one per 1,000 departures – occur every year worldwide, and about 243,000 people are injured in these accidents and incidents annually. Human error is the primary cause of these incidents, with approximately 92 percent of accidents traced to failure to follow procedures, inadequate training and airfield congestion. These numbers will come as no surprise to United Airlines ground workers, such as baggage handlers, mechanics and ground crew employees, who work in the intense atmosphere of busy Washington D.C., New York, Denver or Los Angeles airports.

March 2-Kfeej-Airline Ground Workers Perform Dangerous Duties

 

Every time an aircraft lands, airport ground workers are under pressure to get that plane turned around and back in service as quickly as possible. Ground workers, equipment and vehicles are in constant motion around the aircraft, working to manage cargo and baggage, perform aircraft inspections and maintenance, and get the plane refueled, cleaned and restocked for its next flight. Adding to that pressure is the fact that, over the past decade, ground workers have had to adjust to completing these tasks with fewer workers, as cash-strapped airlines have reduced staffing levels. Additionally, in many cases, experienced workers have been replaced by less experienced and lower paid employees. At the same time, regulations passed in 2010 impose fines on airlines when passengers are kept waiting on the tarmac for more than three hours, increasing pressure on ground workers for fast aircraft turnarounds.

 

These factors create an atmosphere in which employees serving in support positions, like mechanics, baggage handlers, and ground crew team members, may feel pressured by supervisors to let safety procedures slip a little in the interest of speed. A hard-pressed baggage handler may not wait for a spotter or a mechanic may take a short cut, worried not just about the airline schedule, but also about satisfying demanding supervisors and keeping their jobs. Of course, these decisions, made under pressure in a split second, are ones that can lead to those human error accidents.

airplane-cockpitOn occasion, as with any large industry, an United Airlines employee is injured by a co-worker during work. One incident, reported by New Jersey’s Star-Ledger on January 20, 2013, resulted in serious injury to an airline worker, who was pinned by a baggage cart after the cart was struck by a food service supply vehicle driven by another worker. This is the type of workplace injury situation that a New York United Airlines employee is best served by speaking with a lawyer as soon as possible, as liability and compensation in these sorts of cases can be complex. Initial statements regarding the circumstances of the injury can matter a great deal.

 

Circumstances Can Affect Liability

 

Sometimes, an accident is just that – an accident – and the standard procedures for dealing with compensation for an on the job injury are sufficient. However, that is not always the case and liability can expand beyond the usual workers’ compensation available for people hurt at work. Sometimes, an airline employee can be injured by a co-worker through the negligence of that co-worker. If the co-worker was impaired by drugs or alcohol, or was behaving in a reckless manner, for example, that could constitute negligence under the law and could affect liability.