OSHA Protections for Flight Crew: Booklet Details New Rules

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Enforcement of new OSHA protections for Flight Attendants began on March 26, 2014, six months after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) corrected rules that excluded the passenger cabin.

AFA-CWA, the world’s leading advocate for Flight Attendants, worked on multiple fronts for decades to secure these important safety and health protections for Flight Attendants on commercial aircraft, and has published a detailed booklet in conjunction with OSHA to inform flight crews about the changes.

“After many years of hard work, Flight Attendants are finally getting the training and protection they deserve,” said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.

Since the FAA claimed exclusive jurisdiction over workplace safety and health for all crewmembers, preventing OSHA protections for Flight Attendants, AFA has pursued multiple legal and regulatory solutions. Extending OSHA protections to airline workers has been a priority for our union for 20 years.

We built a forceful campaign that resulted in the OSHA-FAA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the basis for the final FAA-OSHA policy. Our advocacy resulted in the Flight Attendant safety and health protections in the FAA reauthorization bill that was signed by President Obama in February 2012. The final policy statement was issued after the FAA and OSHA reviewed comments submitted by AFA International, individual AFA members, and various other industry stakeholders. These comments helped shape the new policy and will influence how it is implemented, ensuring the strongest possible safety and health standards for cabin crew members, and our passengers.

“AFA has led the charge in advocating for OSHA protections for Flight Attendants,” said AFA International President Sara Nelson, “and we will continue to work with the FAA and OSHA for full implementation of these workplace safety and health standards that will protect Flight Attendants as well as the passengers on our flights from exposure to the workplace hazards that can be present in the aircraft cabin, including noise, bloodborne pathogens, and toxic chemicals.”

AFA’s Air Safety, Health and Security Department has published a manual for AFA members.

In coordination with MEC leaders and safety chairs, AFA will continue to work with the FAA, OSHA and the airlines to help Flight Attendants understand their right to safe, healthy cabin workplaces. We must be vigilant to ensure that airlines comply with the relevant OSHA standards, including Flight Attendant training requirements. We will help to hold the industry accountable for documenting their programs, training workers, mitigating hazards, and making the aircraft cabin a safer, healthier workplace.

The following OSHA regulatory protections apply to Flight Attendants:
•    Bloodborne Pathogens – Protects from exposure to blood or other infectious substances;
•    Noise and Hearing Conservation – Protects from workplace noise exposure;
•    Hazard Communications – Requires employee access to information on chemical hazards.

AFA booklet for Flight Attendants: The Rules Are Changing: How New OSHA Protections Will Affect You.

More information for cabin crew: www.osha.gov/faa/index.html

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