Flight Attendants May Soon Become Eligible for OSHA Protections

For decades now, the Federal Aviation Administration has been solely responsible for the safety of flight attendants and cabin crew on a flight.  However, that could soon change.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration have announced that they will jointly share regulation of the safety of flight attendants while they’re on a plane.

Currently, flight attendants come under OSHA protection on the ground.  However, once they embark a plane, the Federal Aviation Administration becomes responsible for their safety.  That is how it has been over the past 37 years at least.

According to OSHA, it is very concerned about certain exposure and noise hazards that cabin crew and flight attendants are exposed to during flights.  For instance, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that it is concerned about flight attendants’ noise exposure which could possibly lead to hearing loss or hearing impairment.  The agency is also concerned about exposure to blood borne pathogens, and access to information about hazardous chemicals.

Under the new proposal, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would be able to investigate complaints from flight attendants about things like air quality in the plane.  Flight attendants often fall victim to “sick airplane syndrome,” a condition that include symptoms like headaches, nausea, dizziness, breathing difficulties and palpitations.  The condition is often linked to poor air quality on a plane.  Under the proposal, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would be able to on investigate complaints about such conditions.

The Association of Flight Attendants, which represents cabin crew, has welcomed these proposals, saying that safer and healthier flight attendants can ultimately contribute to safer and healthier passengers.