In December 2009, life changed forever for John, a 34-year-old baggage handler at Chicago’s Midway Airport. He was working hard to keep up with the holiday travel rush. His team was dealing with an unprecedented volume of bags. As John lifted a 55-pound suitcase from a belt loader and placed it in the cargo hold of a plane, he ruptured three discs in his back. He spent a year on temporary total disability and eventually needed to switch careers.
Handling baggage improperly can cause severe injury
Baggage handling can be a dangerous job, as Cicero work injury attorneys know. Lifting and transferring heavy bags often leads to severe injury if handlers do not take proper safety precautions. Recent ergonomic guidelines published by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration can help ramp workers cut their risk of an accident in the workplace.
What is ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the science of moving safely and efficiently while performing job tasks or other activities. It is a popular technique among many groups of people, from professional athletes to office workers. It is especially helpful for people who must move and lift constantly on the job. Training in proper ergonomics can cut the danger of disabling workplace injuries by as much as 80 percent, according to OSHA statistics.
Why do baggage handlers need ergonomics?
Baggage handlers are in special need of ergonomics because their job involves moving heavy objects at a fast pace in a high-pressure environment. Many times a day, they must handle suitcases and bags of unknown weight. High bag turnover and tight deadlines can contribute to unsafe practices and serious baggage handling injuries if workers are not trained in ergonomic techniques.
Ergonomic tips for ramp staff
Ramp workers can stay safer by paying attention to all of the following points:
- Never lift while twisting or reaching out.
- Place carts and belt loaders at a consistent height to avoid stooping or stretching.
- Label all heavy suitcases with easily visible tags.
- Take regular rest breaks and change working positions when possible.
- Report all injuries to a supervisor at once, even if they initially seem minor.
Cicero work injury attorneys are aware that these simple practices can decrease the chance of job-related trauma.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, airports in America handle more than 50,000 flights every day. Ramp workers and luggage handlers are on the cutting edge of the current travel boom. People who have been hurt while working at an airport should consider speaking with Cicero work injury attorneys about their case.