After reviewing American Airlines' occupational injury and illness data, which revealed injury and illness rates were higher than the national average, OSHA officials went into O'Hare International Airport and inspected the airline's ramp services, cargo building, automotive shops, ticket and gate services, tower, two hangars and baggage room.
Following the inspection, OSHA issued several citations, one of of which was a willful citation with a proposed penalty of $70,000, alleging that the company failed to protect all open-sided floors and work platforms from potential fall hazards.
The agency issued citations for 15 alleged serious violations with proposed penalties of $61,000 for a variety of concerns, including machine guarding, electrical issues, trip and fall hazards, blocked exits and storage of oxygen and acetylene cylinders.
Six alleged repeat violations, based on citations issued and affirmed in 2005, cover machine guarding issues, electrical and fire hazards, fall protection, review of lockout/tagout procedures and hygiene issues. Lockout/tagout procedures protect employees from unexpected startup of machinery and equipment during service or maintenance activities. Proposed penalties for the alleged repeat violations total $100,000.
“Falls, electrical hazards, machine guarding and energy lockout issues are problems that should not exist at any worksite and can be avoided if an employer is dedicated to protecting employees,” said Diane Turek, director of OSHA's Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines, Ill. “Employers must remain dedicated to keeping the workplace safe and healthful or face close scrutiny by OSHA.”
A call made to American Airlines for comment was unreturned.
Since 2004, American Airlines has been inspected by OSHA 66 times at various locations nationwide, with 37 of those inspections resulting in citations. American Airlines at O'Hare International Airport has been inspected 10 times since 2000, with five of the inspections resulting in citations.