OSHA Enforcement Begins for Cabin Crew


New OSHA protections in the aircraft cabin beginning March 26 are explained in AFA booklet.

Enforcement of new protections in the aircraft cabin begins on March 26, 2014, six months after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) freed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to regulate the safety and health of crewmembers working on aircraft in operation. 

The OSHA regulatory protections that apply to Flight Attendants address:

•          Bloodborne Pathogens – Protects employees from exposures to blood or other infectious substances;

•          Noise and Hearing Conservation – Protects employees from workplace noise exposures;

•          Hazard Communication – Requires employee access to information on chemical hazards.

osha-in-the-cabin-smx.jpgAFA worked on multiple fronts for decades to secure these important safety and health protections for Flight Attendants on commercial aircraft, and has now published a detailed online booklet, The Rules Are Changing: How New OSHA Protections Will Affect You to inform flight crews about the changes.

“Flight Attendants’ duties in the cabins of commercial aircraft expose us to numerous workplace hazards, including noise, bloodborne pathogens, and toxic chemicals,” said AFA International President Veda Shook. “As the leading advocate for OSHA protections for Flight Attendants, AFA will continue to work with the FAA and OSHA to make sure these workplace safety and health standards are fully implemented. They will not only improve the working conditions of tens of thousands of Flight Attendants, they will benefit the millions of passengers who travel on commercial flights every day.”

Since the FAA claimed exclusive jurisdiction over cabin workplace safety and health, 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.

During the Clinton Administration we built an effective coalition that resulted in the OSHA-FAA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the basis for the final FAA-OSHA policy. The Obama Administration continued work with us to make this come to fruition. 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's OSHA booklet for Flight Attendants, The Rules Are Changing: How New OSHA Protections Will Affect You, was prepared by the AFA Air Safety, Health and Security Department.

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

Visit: AFA OSHA Onboard

Detailed information for Flight Attendants: The Rules Are Changing: How New OSHA Protections Will Affect You

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

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