Preventing workplace injuries in the aviation industry

When North Carolina residents travel by plane, they may not think twice about the airline’s crews helping them load their luggage in the overhead compartment, showing them the emergency procedure and pushing heavy trolleys down the aisle. However, these airline workers place their bodies under extreme pressure and sustain work-related musculoskeletal disorders, including those that affect the back, upper extremities and neck.

According to shocking figures released by OSHA, 50 workers are hurt on the job every minute of a 40-hour workweek. According to United Airlines, sprains and strains cause 60 percent of the monthly workplace injuries in the airline industry. Exposure to known risk factors, such as awkward body postures and performing similar tasks repetitively, increases the chance of workplace injuries.

One way to reduce workplace injuries could be by redesigning work practices. Including airline personnel in the process will also be beneficial, as their input on which body parts are subject to the most stress and how to move the body in order to avoid injury can be invaluable. Training can help employees understand why injuries take place and how they can protect themselves from getting hurt on the job. Encouraging early reporting of muscular stress can prevent an injury from getting worse and reduce injuries.

Some injuries result immediately from a work accident and some, such as soft tissue injuries, take a long time to develop. Whatever the form of the injury, an injured North Carolina worker may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover their medical expenses. Filing a claim also highlights an unsafe working environment and can prevent future similar injuries.

Source:, “Ergonomics: redesign the work by paying attention to the worker,” Deborahann Cavalcante, June 29, 2014

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