During the last three decades, Charlotte has transformed into a global business hub. Varying industries from banking, energy, hospitality and airline have benefited. Pre-COVID-19, numerous business travelers congregated at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, arriving in the city to discuss business deals. Tourists came, too.
But the pandemic has slowed down things. Despite the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, passengers today are gradually returning to Charlotte’s airport. This means work continues for in-flight, gate and ground crews within the airline industry. And this also means many such workers remain exposed to work-related hazards causing injuries that can sideline from weeks or months. Deaths also can occur.
Strains, heat stroke, hearing loss and violence
COVID-19 is just another job hazard added to the list of threats faced by airline workers. In-flight and gate crews are the most susceptible because of their close contact with passengers. Here is a list of some of the types of injuries faced by airline workers:
- Musculoskeletal-related injuries: Passenger luggage can weigh 50 pounds or more. Ground crews must lift, load and unload luggage continuously, potentially causing strains, sprains and damage to ligaments.
- Warm temperatures: Cold weather is rare in Charlotte, but the hot summer months can provide difficult working conditions. The outdoor work of ground crews can lead to dehydration and heat stroke.
- Excessive noise levels: Exposure to loud noises from aircraft can lead to hearing loss for ground crews, who must wear ear protection.
- Slip, trip and fall injuries: Such injuries can happen inside the airport terminal and at its outdoor space. Workers can suffer injuries such as fractures and traumatic brain injury.
- Disease and emissions exposure: COVID-19 remains a newfound hazard among airline workers who work with passengers. Meanwhile, chemicals and toxins from aircraft exhaust and fuel prove hazardous to ground crews.
- Unruly and violent passengers: Anger can bubble up among passengers, leading to violent assaults on in-flight and gate crew members.
It takes a village of airline workers to keep an airport’s operations humming. However, breakdowns, sometimes, occur within this worker link caused by injuries. Safety and awareness are crucial.