Airline Industry Workers Injury, Illness Rates Higher ThanConstruction

Some flight attendants are wearing hard hats and offering them to passengers, to make a point about the number of\r\ninjuries taking place in airplane\r\ncabins.

This Friday, flight attendants will band together at airports in Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles to prompt an appeal for stronger safety and health protections.

On your next flight, flight attendants may be wearing hard hats and offering them to passengers, to make a point about the number of painful, even debilitating injuries taking place in airplane cabins.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), aviation is a dangerous industry for workers.

BLS reports there were approximately 1.2 million workers employed in the "transportation by air" category in 1998. The industry-wide rate of recordable injuries and illnesses was higher (14.5 percent) than in construction (8.8 percent), agriculture (7.9 percent) or mining (4.9 percent).

"OSHA regulations would make the airplane cabin a safer place for flight attendants to do their jobs and for passengers to travel," said Patricia Friend, head of the OSHA NOW! Coalition for Flight Attendant Safety.

The coalition, part of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), dedicates itself to bringing to light the safety problems flight attendants face and continues to ask for OSHA protections for airline workers.

According to AFA, flight attendants suffer injuries related to poorly designed food and beverage carts, slipping on galley floors, handling or being struck by heavy carry-on baggage, and sustaining cuts and burns from galley equipment and oven racks.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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