One year into the COVID-19 pandemic and the safety restrictions implemented as a result, many aspects of our lives are slowly opening back up. However, it will be some time before things are back to “normal.” One of those aspects is air travel. And the potential for more passengers means more work for airline crews, including baggage handlers.
This group of unsung workers consistently face job hazards that the average person does not. Continuously lifting heavy baggage as much as 75 pounds, pushing heavy carts and escorting wheelchair-bound passengers can take a physical toll on the body. Not to mention, potential injuries caused by falling baggage, slips and falls along with exposure to disease when face-to-face with the public.
Back and knee pain, tendonitis
The work-related strain can overcome any baggage handler. Airline companies are well aware of the risks faced by all of their workers and must adjust to accommodate them while also providing proper safety training. The latter is one way to prevent unsafe and awkward lifting habits potentially leading to musculoskeletal injuries.
The cause of such injuries often is due to:
- Overexertion: The need to lift, carry and push heavy baggage while on the job may lead to an assortment of injuries. The list includes lower back, neck, shoulder and knee injuries, some of which may require surgery and lengthy rehabilitation. Severe damage to ligaments, muscles and tendons is possible, and some workers sustain nerve damage and hernias.
- Excessive repetitive motion: Tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome are ailments with origins from constant motion. Ligaments and tendons also may be harmed, preventing you from performing everyday activities.
- Slip and fall situations: The combination of an awkward lift and slippery floor potentially spells trouble for baggage handlers. A fractured arm, leg and skull will prevent you from working for a long time.
Let us hope that during the last year with fewer passengers that airline companies had plenty of time to rethink issues pertaining to the safety of their workers. They rely on all their workers and must do their best to protect them.