The airlines have experienced difficult economic times in the past six months due to COVID-19-related circumstances. With fewer travelers and certain safety restrictions in place, places like the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport remain less-than-crowded.
Still, there are travelers and a great amount of work that needs to be done by flight and ground crews. With the busiest travel season from November through April soon upon us in the Phoenix area, the airport is bound to get busier. And just like any other workplace, airports pose certain work-related dangers for employees.
From heat stroke to violent passengers
While COVID-19 represents another safety threat for airport workers as well as airline passengers, there have been many longstanding threats present in the lives of airlines and ground crews. Here are some of the job hazards and injuries that these workers face every day, potentially leading to a workers’ compensation claim:
- Musculoskeletal injuries: Lifting, loading and unloading passenger luggage is among the duties of ground crews. Luggage weighing 50 pounds is not uncommon, leading to sprains, strains and ligament damage.
- Extremely warm temperatures: Especially in the hot summer months, weather conditions in the Phoenix area test the mettle of any worker. Working outside, ground crews are susceptible to heat stroke and dehydration.
- Noise: Hearing loss is possible from continuous exposure to extreme and excessive noise.
- Slip-and-fall injuries: Whether inside the airport terminal or outside along or on the runway, crews can suffer from these potentially painful injuries.
- Exposure to disease and emissions: Toxins and chemicals from diesel fuel and aircraft exhaust are hazardous to crews. And an infection such as COVID-19 is a reminder that airline workers are in regular contact with passengers.
- Violent passengers: Sometimes, tempers flare from angry, frustrated and intoxicated passengers. Such attacks can lead to severe bruising, fractures and concussions.
- Stressful situations: Airport workers often face stress due to the need for quick work turnarounds during the hectic work pace.
Only time will tell whether airports get busier during the current health crisis, but you can bet on more passengers arriving in the Phoenix area soon. And with some airlines laying off workers that means more work must be done by fewer employees. A workplace injury may happen, so do your best to focus on safety.