Ground crew workers at airports do not get the most attention among airline employees. That spotlight is reserved for pilots and flight attendants. But such workers maintain crucial roles within an airport and airline’s operations, fulfilling a variety of tasks inside a terminal and outside a terminal.
Among their duties: checking in passengers for their flights, providing security checks, assisting disabled passengers, loading and unloading passenger bags from aircraft, stocking and cleaning the aircraft as well as helping passengers and crew get off the plane by providing the stairs once the plane lands. And all those tasks provide ample opportunity for an assortment of workplace injuries.
Stress, noise and strains
Airport ground crews face a significant number of physical challenges that can lead to an injury at any time. The continuous lifting of baggage strains muscles and bones. A slip-and-fall on a slick floor may cause fractures and traumatic brain injury.
Here are some of the hazards they encounter:
- Musculoskeletal injuries: Loading and unloading luggage that weigh 70 pounds can cause serious sprains and strains.
- Exposure to extreme temperature: From hot weather conditions to sub-zero conditions, ground crews loading and unloading planes have experienced it all. Heat stroke, exhaustion and frostbite are possibilities.
- Fuel emissions and carbon monoxide: Aircraft regularly emit exhaust that may lead to workers getting fatigued, suffering from headaches and even lose consciousness.
- Extreme noise: Hearing loss often is the result of continuous exposure to noise levels from aircraft.
- Stress: As in any job, airport ground crews experience stress from unrealistic workloads and poor working conditions to receiving improper training.
Airline passengers sometimes take for granted the teamwork involved in ensuring a successful flight. An airport ground crew is an essential component of the work team. And, like everyone else on its work team, they, too, deserve a legally safe workplace.