Showing posts with label cabin crew health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cabin crew health. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Flight attendant provisions in the FAA Reauthorization Act

Seal of the US CongressLast week the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2007, H.R.2881, by a vote of 267-151. The legislation includes a number of provisions of interest to flight attendants in the United States.

The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) issued a news release about the legislation that summarizes the main points that affect flight attendants.

There are several important provisions included in the FAA Reauthorization that AFA-CWA has repeatedly requested for years.

For the first time in over 30 years, a requirement for workplace safety and health protections for flight attendants was finally recognized. Flight attendants suffer numerous occupational injuries and illnesses while working aboard commercial flights at rates several times higher than those for all private industry workers, yet are not covered under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines.

The FAA Reauthorization also states that the FAA must institute a HIMS, or "Return to the Cabin" Program, that will allow flight attendants an opportunity for rehabilitation after testing positive for drug or alcohol abuse.

The House also instructed the FAA to complete studies on flight attendant fatigue and continue sampling and analyzing onboard cabin air.

The FAA must also initiate a study of actual onboard temperatures to determine if regulations are necessary to mandate standard temperatures onboard aircraft.

Protection for seniority integration in case of an airline merger was also included. This provision will help to ensure that, in the event of an airline merger, all employees are treated fairly and one group is not stapled to the bottom of the merged seniority list.

Additionally, the bill mandates that airlines must notify passengers upon ticket purchase if their aircraft is subject to pesticide spraying.
Also of interest, an amendment to the bill (H.AMDT.808) asks the Secretary of Transportation "to issue regulations requiring air carriers to provide initial and annual recurring training for flight attendants and gate attendants regarding serving alcohol, dealing with disruptive passengers, and recognizing intoxicated persons. The training must include situational training on methods of handling an intoxicated person who is belligerent."

The U.S. Senate will consider this legislation some time next month. If the legislation passes the Senate as well, it will be presented to President Bush for his signature.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Were Flybe cabin crew sickened by fumes in aircraft cabin?

Two cabin crew members became violently ill and collapsed during a recent Flybe flight on a BAe 146 aircraft between Birmingham, England and George Best Belfast City Airport in Northern Ireland. The Transport and General Workers' Union, which represents Flybe's cabin crew, says the crew members' illness was caused by a "toxic gas" in the aircraft cabin. The union is calling for an investigation.

A news article about the incident in the Belfast Telegraph quotes union officials who say this was "the latest in a number of potentially disastrous mid-air incidents in which crew members working for various airlines have become dangerously ill during flights."

Campaigners who believe the incidents are due to deadly toxins from jet engine oil contaminating the air supply have warned that the 'fuming' incidents are putting the long-term health of crew and passengers at risk and are also in danger of causing a major air catastrophe if pilots become incapacitated.

Details have emerged in a CAA report into a terrifying episode last month on board the Flybe jet.

Passengers on board the BAe 146 plane flying into Belfast from Birmingham were completely unaware of the drama at the rear of the aircraft, and of the fears of other terrified cabin crew that they may not have been able to deal with an emergency with incapacitated staff.

Dessie Henderson, senior organiser of the Transport and General Workers' Union in Belfast, says it's just one of an increasing number of 'fuming' incidents which are feared to be leaving airline staff and passengers facing possible long-term health problems due to so-called "aerotoxic syndrome".
Mr. Henderson went on to say, "There have been numerous incidents and they can't continue to go unexplained when the health and safety of the cabin crews and the passengers on board the planes are at stake. If these incidents are down to organophosphates, then that is what the airlines need to be carrying out checks for, to see if their staff and our members have been exposed to it."

While declining to comment on the specific incident, a spokesman for Flybe said that all of the company's aircraft are manufactured and maintained to the highest industry standards.
"Any incidents involving sickness experienced by cabin crew, flight crew or passengers are taken very seriously by the company, with appropriate medical support always provided.

"The statistically very small occurrences of on-board sickness indicate that our systems and processes are robust and more than meet all CAA regulatory demands.

"Flybe are at the leading edge of co-operative joint research in this area and are comfortable that our expertise marks us out as industry leaders."
The UK The Government's Committee on Toxicity is said to be examining the threat from contaminated cabin air.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Passengers ill on Continental flight from Hong Kong

Passengers and crew on Continental Airlines Flight 98 were held on board the aircraft at Newark Liberty International Airport for several hours after arrival from Hong Kong yesterday. A number of passengers were ill on the flight, and U.S. health authorities were notified. Emergency services personnel met the aircraft at the gate and went aboard to try to determine the cause of the illness. All aboard were later released.

A Continental spokeswoman said that during the 15 hour flight, the cabin crew noticed that several passengers appeared ill. The illness appeared to begin with seven passengers, part of a group of 80 tourists who went on a river cruise in Asia, then spread to other passengers who exhibited flu-like symptoms including chills and vomiting, according to a Reuters new article about the incident.

Fortunately, health officials concluded that the illness was likely a kind of seasonal flu, and nothing more serious.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Was 'overwork' a cause of F/A's stroke?

This is an unusual story, and I don't have many details, but it does make you stop and think.

The Turkish news website Sabah ran a story about a 37 year old flight attendant who works for THY Turkish Airlines. Apparently she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage (stroke) during a flight from Helsinki to Istanbul. The article notes that the flight on which she became ill was the fourth leg she had worked that day, and suggests that 'overwork' may have contributed to her illness.

Here's an excerpt from the story, as it appeared on Sabah:

Due to lack of efficient number of personnel, THY is being accused of forcing its employees to overwork. A 37 year old flight attendant Ömür Güney had a stroke due to cerebral hemorrhage during a flight. It was learned that poor woman was forced to work during four consecutive flights. Güney felt faint during Helsinki-Istanbul flight on January 21, 2007. She was taken to the International Hospital. Doctors diagnosed her with brain hemorrhage.

It was learned that Güney had worked during İstanbul-Izmir, Izmir-Istanbul, Istanbul-Helsinki and Helsinki-Istanbul flights on the same day. Air transport authorities have blamed THY for forcing its employees to overwork.
The four consecutive flights were reported to have "lasted 10 hours in total."