"This policy statement will enhance occupational safety and health in the aircraft cabin by establishing the extent to which the OSHA requirements may apply to the working conditions of aircraft cabin crew while they are onboard aircraft in operation," it states.
The three OSHA standards that will apply in aircraft cabins are hazard communication, blood-borne pathogens, and noise.
The FAA received 196 comments on its draft statement published last December. According to an FAA summary of the comments, "flight attendants and their unions were generally in favor; air carriers and trade associations opposed the policy change, sought clarification of its extent, or expressed uncertainty over practical aspects such as compliance with certain portions of OSHA standards or how OSHA would enforce the standards."
Both OSHA and the FAA said they do not expect OSHA will have to conduct inspections onboard aircraft to ensure compliance.
Among the issues for aircraft cabin safety that fall under the OSHA standards are information on hazardous chemicals, exposure to blood-borne pathogens, and hearing conservation programs, as well as rules on recordkeeping and access to employee exposure and medical records. The two agencies "will develop procedures to ensure that OSHA does not apply any requirements that could adversely affect aviation safety," according to the FAA statement announcing the policy.
"Our cabin crew members 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."
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.
By Nancy Grover
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
September 30, 2013
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