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Flight attendants can now turn to OSHA with safety concerns

December 4, 2012
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Although Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety regulations will still take precedence, a new FAA proposal for addressing flight attendant workplace safety will allow OSHA to enforce certain occupational safety and health standards currently not covered by FAA oversight.

"Safety is our highest priority and that certainly extends to those who work in the transportation industry," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Under this proposal, flight attendants would, for the first time, be able to report workplace injury and illness complaints to OSHA for response and investigation."

"The policy announced today with the FAA will not only enhance the health and safety of flight attendants by connecting them directly with OSHA but will, by extension, improve the flying experience of millions of airline passengers," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

Flight attendant workplace issues could include things such as exposure to noise and bloodborne pathogens, and access to information on hazardous chemicals. The FAA and OSHA will continue to work to identify any additional conditions where OSHA requirements could apply. They will also develop procedures to ensure that OSHA does not apply any requirements that could affect aviation safety.

"Flight attendants contribute to the safe operation of every flight each day," said acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. "This proposed policy is an important step toward establishing procedures for resolving flight attendant workplace health and safety concerns."

Through the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Congress required the FAA to develop a policy statement to outline the circumstances in which OSHA requirements could apply to crewmembers while they are working on aircraft.

The policy notice was sent to the Federal Register and is currently available at http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/ashp. The 30-day comment period begins when the policy notice is published in the Federal Register.

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