It is essential that employees in Pittsburgh and across Pennsylvania feel
like they are as safe as possible when they go to work each day. Every
employer has the responsibility to fulfill this expectation, to a reasonable
extent, for its employees. When a workplace is unsafe, it can lead to
injured workers and, in turn, workers' compensation claims.
Unsafe work conditions can arise from any number of conditions in the workplace.
The workplace may be unsafe due to a lack of appropriate safety training,
equipment that is not appropriately maintained, inadequate adherence to
required safety measures and much more. Recently, employees at Philadelphia
International Airport have expressed their concerns about the unsafe work
conditions in which they execute their daily responsibilities.
The concerns were raised mainly by wheelchair attendants. The attendants
are concerned that lack of training, defective equipment and exposure
to bodily fluid are putting them at risk to become victims of a job-related
accident and potentially an occupational disease.
The wheelchair attendants state that often times the wheelchairs have maintenance
issues, such as broken handle grips or malfunctioning breaks. In addition,
the employees feel that their employer's training programs on aiding
passengers with disabilities have been lacking or non-existent. They do
not feel that they know how to help a disabled passenger use the bathroom
nor is there an official procedure for sanitizing equipment that has been
soiled by an ill passenger.
Although the employees are not part of a union, Service Employees International
Union's local chapter filed complaints with federal agencies in regards
to the employees' concerns. This has spurred an Occupational Safety
and Health Administration investigation into PrimeFlight. According to
the complaints, the company is in violation of a federal law requiring
an airline to provide its employees with the appropriate training and
equipment to work with disabled passengers.
Until this issue is resolved, it is important for employees to understand
that, when they are injured on the job, they are often entitled to workers'
compensation benefits. These benefits help those that have been injured
at work to pay for the expenses that arise as a result of the accident
and injuries. All employees have a right to a safe workplace, with appropriate
training and procedures set in place.
Source: Trib Live, "Airport workers in Philly say they, passengers at risk for illness, injury," May 6, 2013