Air Safety, Health & Security Committee
THE DEAD LINE TO SUBMIT COMMENTS ABOUT OSHA IN THE CABIN IS JANUARY 22ND!
Your input is needed to support the recently published draft FAA policy statement that is expected to bring some long overdue OSHA standards into our cabins. The FAA and OSHA are requesting comments, due by January 22, 2013, on the policy change that will allow application of the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens, Occupational Noise Exposure, and Hazard Communication standards to flight attendants working on board airplanes in operation.
It is now almost 38 years since the FAA claimed exclusive jurisdiction over your occupational health and safety while working in the cabin. With this proposed policy statement, AFA is happy to report that the FAA has finally acknowledged that its "regulations do not completely encompass the safety and health aspects of the work environments of aircraft crewmembers while the aircraft is in operation, and that there are working conditions for which it has not promulgated occupational safety or health standards."
Unfortunately, we expect the airlines to fight this policy change; so, to defend against its being weakened by industry attacks and also to support the continuing efforts of FAA and OSHA to protect your occupational safety and health, your personal, experience-based perspectives are needed. Specifically, if you have been directly affected, know someone affected, or have job-related concerns with being exposed in the aircraft cabin to blood and/or other bodily fluids, noise, or hazardous chemicals, we urge you to click on the link below and submit a brief, personal statement of support for the FAA policy change that will apply these three OSHA standards to your work in the cabin:
Briefly, here is a summary of the protections these three OSHA standards provide:
Bloodborne Pathogens: Each employer with employees occupationally exposed to microorganisms present in human blood that can cause disease in humans shall establish a written Exposure Control Plan to eliminate or minimize exposure. The standard requires the use of certain Labels and Signs as well as Information and Training for workers. Possible control methods include Universal Precautions; Engineering and Work Practice Controls; Personal Protective Equipment; and Housekeeping.
Occupational Noise Exposure: Protects employees against the effects of noise exposure when sound levels exceed certain OSHA-specified limits. For each employee exposed above these limits, and at no cost to the employee, the employer shall institute a training program, ensure employee participation in the program, establish and maintain an audiometric testing program, and make hearing protectors available.
Hazard Communication: Ensures that the hazards of all chemicals are classified and that information concerning the hazards is transmitted to employees. This is accomplished through comprehensive, written hazard communication programs that include container labeling and other forms of warning, safety data sheets and employee training. Training must include at least methods and observations to detect a hazardous chemical in the work area; physical and health hazards of the chemicals in the work area; the measures employees can take to protect themselves from exposure to hazardous chemicals; and the details of the employer's hazard communication program.
I have concerns what do I write?
First, this is not a form letter you must comment in your own words. Many of you have expressed concerns to AFA about these very same topics in the past, now is your chance to voice those concerns.
Second, the comment box only allows for 250-300 words (2000 characters) you can say a lot in 250 words please be to the point.
Third, write down what you would like to say before submitting, get your thoughts organized. Base what you write on your own personal experiences; you have them we've heard them.
You can write about more than one of the topics however how did this affected you or someone you know?
Hearing: Maybe you noticed it was hard to hear in the back galley. It was very noisy and you thought could this be affecting my hearing? Have you experienced the ground agent opening the aircraft door with the engine running? It was so loud the ground agent was wearing hearing protection where is yours? Could this situation affect your hearing? You must use airstairs to exit the aircraft or you must walk ramp side to get to your aircraft. It is very noisy. Could this affect your hearing? Have you been tested and found to have a hearing loss? Did your physician say it may be related to your job as a flight attendant?
Blood: Maybe you have been exposed to blood or bodily fluids providing first aid to sick or injured passengers. Are you concerned that you may become infected in the process of providing first aid to the passengers while in flight? I want to know how to protect myself and get appropriate treatment if I am exposed. Is this a concern?
Hazard communications: There are many chemicals we are exposed to in the course of my day as a flight attendant. Are you concerned that you have not been provided information about the potential harm these chemicals may cause. For example, the aircraft that I was working on was de-iced. Some of the fluid leaked into the cabin onto me and I smelled the de-icing fluid vapors. My company has not provided flight attendants with information on de-icing fluids. I am concerned these chemicals may be harmful to me.
These are all real life situations that have been and continue to be concerns of you and your fellow flight attendants. If any of these situations or one similar has affected you or you have concerns about being kept informed please take a moment to file a comment. Let the FAA know you support this policy change to allow these three OSHA standards to apply to flight attendants. The aircraft is our office we would like the same protections that others are afforded.
REMEMBER: YOUR OWN WORDS (you can do it). TO THE POINT. WHAT'S YOUR CONCERN? FINALLY: THANK THE FAA AND OSHA FOR WORKING TOGETHER TO BRING ABOUT OSHA PROTECTIONS INTO THE CABIN. THE DEAD LINE TO SUBMIT COMMENTS IS JANUARY 22ND.
Follow the link below, file your comments and send a copy to AFA.
Comments to FAA:
Comments to AFA:
Thank you for your participation!
Dauna Slater-MEC Safety Chair, US Airways/West
AFA Piedmont Air Safety, Health & Security Chair
Our Safety Committee members: