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FAA policy improves hearing conservation for cabin crew

airplane2The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), working with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), issued a final policy for improving workplace safety for aircraft cabin crewmembers, including hearing conservation programs.

While the FAA's aviation safety regulations take precedence, OSHA will be able to enforce certain occupational safety and health standards currently not covered by FAA oversight.

“Safety is our number one priority – for both the traveling public and the dedicated men and women who work in the transportation industry,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “It’s important that cabin crewmembers on our nation’s airlines benefit from OSHA protections, including information about potential on-the-job hazards and other measures to keep them healthy and safe.”

“This policy shows the strength of agencies working together and will enhance the safety of cabin crewmembers and passengers alike,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.  “It is imperative that cabin crewmembers have the same level of safety assurances they provide the public.”  

Aircraft cabin safety issues that fall under OSHA standards include hearing conservation programs, information on hazardous chemicals, exposure to blood-borne pathogens, and rules on record-keeping and access to employee exposure and medical records.  The FAA and OSHA will develop procedures to ensure that OSHA does not apply any requirements that could adversely affect aviation safety. 

“Our cabin crewmembers contribute to the safe operation of every flight each day,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “We’re taking an important step toward establishing procedures for resolving cabin crew workplace health and safety concerns.”

“We look forward to working with the FAA and through our alliance with the aviation industry and labor organizations to improve the safety of cabin crewmembers,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

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 onboard aircraft.

The policy will be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. OSHA will conduct outreach and then begin enforcement activities after the first six months from the effective date.  The notice is available at www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/ashp/. 

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