Buckle Up: Delta Air Lines, OSHA Sign Seatbelt Compliance Agreement for Baggage Vehicles

April 16, 2012
Delta Air Lines' baggage handling vehicles soon will be equipped with seat belts to better protect workers, according to the settlement agreement OSHA announced on April 16. OSHA also is urging others within the airline industry to comply with seatbelt requirements.

OSHA cited Delta Air Lines with safety violations in February 2011 in connection to the fatality of a Delta employee who was ejected from a baggage tug vehicle. The employee was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the incident. OSHA cited Delta for violating 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1910.132, which requires employers to provide employees with personal protective equipment, including seat belts.

“OSHA’s corporate-wide settlement agreements are highly effective tools for ensuring that companies address hazards that can injure or kill their workers,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “This kind of widespread change within corporations can go a long way toward keeping workers across the country safe and healthy at the end of every workday.”

The agreement covers approximately 90 of the Atlanta-based company’s airport sites that fall under federal OSHA’s jurisdiction, as well as 16,000 Delta employees and 6,000 baggage handling vehicles. Under the agreement, Delta will come into compliance with applicable requirements for the use of seatbelts by ensuring that all types of the company’s baggage handling vehicles are equipped with them and that employees use the seat belts while operating the vehicles on specified airport routes.

Delta has committed to an abatement schedule that will result in full compliance within 2 years. During the first year, Delta will train its employees on the proper use of seat belts and install seat belts on those pieces of equipment that currently lack them. During the second year of the agreement, the company will fully enforce seat belt use among its employees, as well as hire safety consultants to monitor the company’s implementation of its seat belt use program and report the results to OSHA.

OSHA also will address this hazard throughout the airline industry. The agency recently sent a hazard alert letter to airlines across the nation reminding them that they are obligated to comply with applicable seat belt use requirements.

The settlement agreement can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/csa/delta041612.html.

About the Author

Laura Walter

Laura Walter was formerly senior editor of EHS Today. She is a subject matter expert in EHS compliance and government issues and has covered a variety of topics relating to occupational safety and health. Her writing has earned awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the Trade Association Business Publications International (TABPI) and APEX Awards for Publication Excellence. Her debut novel, Body of Stars (Dutton) was published in 2021.

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