Airport Work Safety: OSHA Cites TSA

When taking a domestic or international flight, TSA (Transportation Security Administration) is charged with ensuring that passengers are properly screened and searched. Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued 14 notices an citations to the Department of Homeland Security Agency.

Federal workers are entitled to the same workplace safety standards as private employees. An unsafe workplace and conditions that violate OSHA regulations could result in serious injury to employees. Our Raleigh workers’ compensation attorneys are experienced in representing both private and public employees when pursuing workers’ compensation claims. We also stay abreast of local and national employment law issues and are dedicated to workplace safety.

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Inspections of TSA, began as part of OSHA’s Federal Agency Targeting Inspection Program. OSHA authorities have stated that employees who work to protect travelers against unsafe conditions deserve the same protections. On-the-job hazards have apparently threatened the workers of the TSA agency, notably at Logan Airport in Boston.

The initial inspection indicated that employees were exposed to finger crushing and amputation hazards due to failed protective measures. Everyday employees were exposed to unguarded tips on baggage conveyors in the inspection rooms where TSA employees work. TSA employees are responsible for screening and searching luggage before it is loaded onto the aircraft. In addition to the potential threat of cuts, crushing and amputation, workers also faced hazards involving electricity and fires.

According to the reports, TSA employees were routinely exposed to misused electrical equipment at checkpoints and in the back inspection rooms. OSHA inspectors also found that there were improperly stored and unsecured fire extinguishers. TSA employees were also exposed to improper storage of flammable and combustible materials. Several other airports have been cited for unsafe and unhealthy working conditions.

OSHA is charged with creating regulations that ensure safe workplaces. They are also responsible for enforcement of these measures and in pursuing proper inspections of work premises. The agency has found that TSA employees faced preventable injuries including falls from deficient ladders, slip and fall, unsecured floor mats, inadequate protective clothing and eyewear. Employees did not have a properly marked exit route and for many, the aisles were too narrow for safe passage.

TSA workers have duties in the backrooms as well as in dealing with customers and in handling baggage. The hazardous conditions were primarily identified as involving baggage conveyors and the baggage inspection rooms; however, dangerous conditions were also found in break rooms and at security checkpoints.

According to OSHA requirements, TSA has 15 business days to reply to the citations and the agency has the right to appeal. Federal agencies must comply with same safety standards as private employees. Unlike private companies, OSHA cannot penalize a federal agency with fines. The citations are primarily to warn established officials and to create safer working conditions.

Federal employees who are injured on the job still have the right to collect workers compensation. An experienced advocate can review the facts of your case and identify your options for recovery, including workers’ compensation or third-party claims.

If you or someone you love has suffered a work accident or injury, contact the Lee Law Offices at 1-800-887-1965 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your right to benefits.

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