The men and women who handle baggage at the nation's airports, including those here in Arizona, go about their daily duties behind the scenes. Few people consider the fact that baggage handlers are hurt at work on a consistent basis. Lifting bags, boxes and other cargo, among other hazards they face, causes numerous injuries each year.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration filed a lawsuit against United Airlines on behalf of baggage handlers at an airport on the East Coast. The two recently reached an agreement that includes fines of $7,000 and a plan to deal with certain hazardous conditions that lead to the injuries suffered by baggage handlers who work for the airline. The settlement could end up helping baggage handlers for multiple airlines across the country -- perhaps even many here in Arizona.
From 2011 through Jan. 2015, 622 reports were filed regarding injuries to baggage handlers. Many were musculoskeletal injuries such as muscle tears, strains and other issues. The lasting effects from these injuries vary in severity depending on the circumstances. Undoubtedly, some of these workers could not return to work for extended periods, if at all.
Any baggage handler hurt at work is eligible for workers' compensation benefits. These benefits could cover medical expenses, lost wages and other expenses incurred during recovery. If an individual is not able to perform certain physical tasks, other benefits, such as short- or long-term disability, education or other training for a new career, might be available. In order to ensure that an injured individual receives all of the benefits to which he or she is entitled, it would be beneficial to discuss the matter with an attorney who regularly practices in this area of law.
Source: Forbes, "United Airlines/OSHA Settlement In Newark Airport Case May Reduce Injuries For All Baggage Handlers", Ted Reed, Dec. 30, 2016