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Flight attendants could see healthier and safer workplace soon

Employees spend significant amounts of time in their workplaces. For many employees, if their work environment is stifling or uncomfortable, they can take a short break outside to remove themselves from the unpleasant conditions in the workplace. Flight attendants, however, are unable to do this as their workplace is contained within the airplane.

When the topic of airplane safety arises, some may think of the potential dangers of poor weather or mechanical problems. However, there are safety concerns even inside functional airplanes. While passengers may not experience negative effects of these conditions during a several-hours-long flight, flight attendants who are in plane cabins day after day may experience negative health effects due to the air or noise levels in the cabin.

The Federal Aviation Administration has regulated workplace safety for flight attendants for many years. Just recently, though, it was announced that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will regulate certain aspects of workplace safety on airplanes. For instance, OSHA will regulate noise levels in addition to other workplace safety issues which are not regulated by the FAA.

In addition, under the proposed method of including OSHA in monitoring flight crews' safety on board planes, OSHA will be able to follow up on complaints received from flight crews regarding workplace safety. Before this proposal, OSHA could receive employees' complaints about high noise levels or poor air quality. However, OSHA could not investigate the complaint as the FAA had complete regulation of workplace safety on airplanes.

This new regulation system may help flight crews experience safer workplace conditions.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "OSHA to take on role in air quality on planes," Andy Pasztor, Dec. 3, 2012

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