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Examining the difficulty with keeping airline ground crews safe

North Carolina employees may be interested in some information about the danger of ignoring safety protocols in our nation's airports. Due to multiple factors, serious accidents and damage to aircraft can occur.

According to reports, since 2001 nearly 100 people have been killed on congested airport ramps. These areas are used for unloading and loading baggage, delivering food to the plane and refueling the aircraft. Worldwide, accidents and damage to aircraft that occur on the ground cost airlines over $10 billion every year. While one airline group has published a comprehensive safety manual to outline safety procedures for avoiding ground-level accidents, many issues remain.

One major issue is the lack of oversight for this particular area of the airport. There are existing agencies overseeing airline safety, but the area around planes is divided between different entities. Depending on the particular place or type of issue, the NTSB, OSHA, FAA or the airport itself could be responsible. This leads to confusion and lack of oversight, as cost-cutting measures force employees to work faster and on longer shifts.

This rush to get the work done has led to employees cutting corners on safety. According to the NTSB, employees are ignoring safety regulations in an effort to get work done quickly. This has led to two serious incidents in the last few years that could have led to injuries or damage to the aircraft.

When a situation leaves a worker injured on the job, whether because the employer has failed to provide the proper safety procedures or the employees are rushed, that worker may be entitled to workers' compensation. An attorney with experience in this area may be able to assess the employee's situation and file a claim on their behalf. This could lead to compensation for lost wages and disability, if appropriate.

Source: USA Today, "Congested airport ramps risky before and after flights", Bart Jansen, December 17, 2014

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