On Tuesday, a group of 13 airlines joined OSHA in a single ergonomics alliance intended to further protect workers handling passenger baggage.
As part of the alliance, both parties agreed to share best practices and technical knowledge, focusing on ergonomics. The ergonomics alliance will proceed by promoting communication, outreach, training, education and a national dialogue.
“This Alliance provides us a great opportunity to advance a culture of injury and illness prevention among workers in the airline industry,” said OSHA administrator John Henshaw in an OSHA press release. “By law, employers are responsible for the safety and health of their workers. It is our job to ensure that employers keep their workplaces safe. This Alliance is the beginning of what I hope will be a continuing relationship with the airline industry that is focused on results — worker safety and health.”
Airlines participating in the alliance include Air Canada, AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, American Trans Air, America West Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Midwest Express Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and U.S. Airways.
According to the November 12 press release, over the next year, OSHA and the participanting airlines will review ways to improve OSHA’s e-tool and conduct a one-day seminar for participating airlines and other interested aviation participants on OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs. Plans also call for a seminar with the airlines and OSHA personnel to discuss ergonomic issues, solutions and limitations related to handling passenger-checked baggage.
The airline/OSHA ergonomics alliance is the 13th alliance OSHA has entered into, although not all alliances have been ergonomics related.
While the following paragraphs highlight the goals of the ergonomics alliance, by nature alliances do not have an enforcement clause.
The Alliance participants will discuss ideas for ergonomic improvement associated with handling of checked baggage during a national safety-related conference and possibly other venues. Finally, OSHA and the Airline Group will develop a biomechanics-training module for workers who handle checked baggage and make that module available free-of-charge to all airlines.
A team of Alliance members will meet at least quarterly to develop and execute an action plan, determine working procedures, and identify the roles and responsibilities of the participants. OSHA will also offer the opportunity for representatives of the Occupational Safety and Health State Plan Association and the association of state Consultation Projects to participate in the Alliance.
What’s making industry jump on the alliance bandwagon? Read more about it in the November 2002 issue of The Ergonomics Report