Airport Safety Starts with Safer Working Conditions

Recent OSHA investigations, enforcement actions, and settlement agreements against aviation contractors and airlines at airports around the country underscore the dangerous nature of airport work and the need for better oversight of private contractors operating at airports across the nation.

Ever since the airline and airport outsourcing that began in the 1980s, responsibility for services critical to the safe and efficient operation of our airports is now in the hands of various private contractors who pay lower wages, offer fewer benefits, and provide employees with inadequate training compared to when these jobs were performed by workers directly employed by the airlines or the airports. There are 12,000 workers employed by more than 40 different contractors at JFK and LaGuardia Airports. These contractors are responsible for providing crucial ground crew passenger services like cabin cleaning, wheelchair assistance, baggage handling and terminal cleaning.

In August and September of 2014, NYCOSH conducted interviews with workers employed by some of the largest airlines and contractors operating at JFK and LGA. The interviews indicated that unsafe working conditions are common in outsourced airport ground operations. These hazardous conditions have remedies and once remedied can increase the safety of ground crew passenger service works. Contractors, airports, and airlines must play active roles in ensuring that the health and safety of their contractors’ employees and of travelers are properly protected. The below NYCOSH recommendations are aimed at reducing the risk and ensuring the safety and health of workers, passengers, and all individuals who utilize New York City’s airports:

  • Employers must provide workers with necessary materials to properly do their job to prevent compromised health and safety for passengers.
  • Employers must provide health and safety training for the hazards that workers face.
  • Employers must identify workplace chemicals, eliminate or reduce exposure, and provide personal protective equipment when necessary, along with training in its limitations and proper use.
  • Employers must eliminate or minimize exposure to potentially infectious materials.
  • Employers should ensure that workers are protected against exposure to temperature extremes.
  • Employers must conduct workplace hazard assessments to determine whether hazards are present, or are likely to be present, that would require the use of personal protective equipment, such as gloves that protect against chemicals or biological hazards.

If you or a loved one has been ill or injured on the job, contact us for a free consultation today.

 

Dear friends and clients,

In furtherance of our firms culture of commitment to always act with compassion, concern and commitment to our clients, community and colleagues, we have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligations while prioritizing health, wellness and safety of all we can. 

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced changes to many lives and businesses in our communities, and around the world. We, much like our neighbors and friends, have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also prioritizing the health, wellness and safety of our employees.

Until further notice, our offices will be closed to the public to encourage social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our team is still hard at work, many from home, and you may still call, email, live chat or video conference us if you or a loved one is seeking legal assistance. As the first law firm to offer our clients secure online access to their case file more than a decade ago, we have always been believers in using technology to make life easier and information more accessible. In these present times it has been a smooth transition for us to continue to offer our clients the same seamless and thorough service that you deserve and are accustomed to.

This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for our lives, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Andrew G. Finkelstein and the staff of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP