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Protecting the Rights of Injured Workers

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Skies are unfriendly for unprotected airline employees

Though many people in Denver may dream of having a job as a flight attendant, there is a real possibility of getting injured while jetting across the country or around the world. Sudden changes in air currents can be responsible for severe workplace injuries. Onboard accidents from turbulence happen suddenly and often unexpectedly.

Airline employees in Colorado and around the U.S. are regularly hurt on the job. Federal labor officials found that eight percent of all air transportation workers suffered a workplace injury in 2010. Wind turbulence, which can violently rock a plane’s stability in flight, is responsible for several injuries.

Turbulence contributed to 49 severe injuries among airline workers in flight since 2007, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Flight attendants, unrestrained by seat belts while serving passengers, are frequently at high risk when wind shakes an airliner.

Air traffic controllers monitor the skies for turbulence threats, like thunderstorms, which adequately-warned pilots can avoid. Rapid change in wind direction or speed, known as wind shear, can also occur outside storm centers.

When one flight attendant was thrown into the air, knocked unconscious and had her pelvis fractured in three places, she was forced to stay in the hospital for nine days. Not only that, her workplace injuries left her out of work for 11 months. When these kinds of accidents happen, it only makes sense to award these injured airline employees workers’ compensation.

Despite these risks, it is very difficult for flight attendants to stay safely buckled into their seats when turbulence hits.

Source: USA TODAY, “Danger of turbulence remains safety threat to air travel,” Bart Jansen, Sep. 11, 2012

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