January 2, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Newark, NJ – The U.S. Department of Labor Dec. 27 announced that it had reached what it called a “precedent-setting agreement” agreement with United Airlines to settle a lawsuit over hazardous conditions in its baggage-handling operation at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Workers there reported more than 600 musculoskeletal injuries from 2011 to 2015, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that repeatedly having to lift baggage in awkward positions had contributed to that. United agreed to install mechanical conveyor belts on the passenger jet bridges in the terminal, to prevent handlers from having to load and unload gate-checked baggage, and to hire an expert to set measures to reduce the risk of repetitive stress injury. “We are pleased that United Airlines has recognized that employers have a responsibility to protect workers from the many hazards that can cause musculoskeletal injuries,” Robert Kulick, OSHA regional administrator in New York, said in a statement. “With this agreement, United will take the steps necessary to prevent its employees from suffering unnecessary injuries due to its deficient baggage-handling operation.” Read more