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As airport traffic picks up, baggage handlers face job hazards

Airline passengers are gradually returning to Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Numbers have increased but will not hit pre-pandemic peaks until Canadian travelers begin using the airport again and COVID-19 is well behind us.

The slow return to normal activity also means the return of airport workers. This includes flight crews such as flight attendants and pilots as well as ground crews whose members are an assortment of workers such as cleaners, customer service agents and baggage handlers. All these workers face job-related hazards, especially the baggage handlers because the physical nature of their work can take a toll on their bodies.

Causes of injuries

Regularly lifting baggage that may weigh as much as 75 pounds, pushing carts filled with passenger suitcases and accompanying wheelchair-ridden passengers are among the many duties of baggage handlers. Any one of these tasks can lead to aches, pains and serious injuries.

The lingering effects of these injuries can prevent baggage handlers from doing their jobs and the need to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Musculoskeletal injuries such as sprains, strains and ligament damage are common.

Here are some of the causes of injuries among baggage handlers:

  • Overexertion: Heavy lifting and pushing can lead to injuries to knees, shoulders, lower back and neck. Damage to muscles, tendons and ligaments is a possibility, too. Some workers experience nerve damage and hernias.
  • Constant repetitive motion: Performing the same movements every day for hours at a time can lead to injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and ligament and tendon damage.
  • Slips, trips and falls: Improper lifting and slippery floors can lead to injuries. Fractures and concussions are potential outcomes from these scenarios.

Airlines rely on ground crews and baggage handlers and know the on-the-job risks these workers face. That is why airlines must provide workers with safety training, proper equipment, skills and a safe work environment.

Getting answers to workers’ comp questions

If you have questions regarding workers’ compensation, contact an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law.