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Airline traffic picking up; workers continue to face job hazards

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on airports around the world. Passenger traffic at the Denver International Airport plummeted 75% in June. However, in July, the airport has experienced a stronger uptick in passenger rates, the most since March when people became much more aware of the virus.

Air travel continues sporadically and with a series of safety precautions for passengers, the flight crews and the ground crews. COVID-19 represents just another job hazard that can lead to serious health complications.

COVID-19 just the latest workplace danger

Here are some of the job hazards faced by either airline flight crews and ground crews:

  • Slip-and-fall injuries: They can occur inside the plane as well as outside the plane and inside the airport facility.
  • Exposure to contaminants and disease: Airport workers have a great amount of contact with the public. For example, flight attendants are in constant contact with passengers, and their occupation is among those considered as a “medium risk” in getting COVID-19.
  • Exposure to carbon monoxide and emissions: Aircraft exhaust can wreak havoc on a ground crew member’s health, leading to fatigue, severe headaches and even losing consciousness.
  • Dealing with violent passengers: The potential result: receiving bodily injuries such as fractures, bruises, concussions and bites.
  • Stress: With busy work schedules that call for quick turnarounds, flight crews and ground crews remain under stress. Poor working conditions and improper training are contributing factors.
  • Musculoskeletal injuries: Loading and unloading luggage is all part of the job for ground crews. With many pieces of luggage weighing 50 pounds or more, staff can attain serious strains, sprains and other injuries.
  • Extreme temperatures: Weather conditions vary from below-zero temperatures to being hot and humid. Either way, ground crews work outside, potentially getting frostbite and heat stroke.
  • Extreme and excessive noise: Hearing loss remains a permanent hazard among ground crew members who are exposed to consistent noise levels from various aircraft.

As flights gradually increase, airlines must continue to provide safe places to work for all employees. However, sometimes, incidents and injuries occur. Be careful and stand up for yourself if you sustain a workplace injury.

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