Baggage handlers often work in extreme conditions, spending extended periods of time lifting and carrying heavy objects in noisy, wet and cold environments. We often express our irritation at the airport for our baggage being over the allowed weight, but sometimes we do not realise that this translates to as many problems for baggage handlers as it does for holiday makers, and travellers and can cause accidents at work.
What are the main hazards for airport baggage handlers?
The HSE notes the main hazards faced by airport baggage handlers to be as follows:
- Pushing and pulling the equipment needed to load and unload the bags
- Handling baggage inside the aircraft in particular stacking the bags within the hold
- Frequently lifting heavy bags
- Handling bags below knee height and above shoulder height
- Handling with the hand extended far away from the lower back
- A lack of effective management and supervision
Baggage handlers are particularly susceptible to lower back and shoulder injury from lifting heavy loads constantly. Baggage handlers are also subject to hazardous environmental conditions when loading and unloading bags from the hold. Often baggage handlers work within close proximity of spooling aircraft engines and are subjected to extremely loud noises and often work in wet, cold conditions.
How can I prevent injury to myself as a baggage handler?
- Always use mechanical equipment to load and unload bags from the aircraft including belt loaders.
- Be sure to use a tug when pulling luggage carts toward the aircraft.
- Rotate tasks between employees such as loading and unloading, driving the tug, and working in the hold.
- Always wear adequate protective equipment including ear protection, high visibility jackets, and protective footwear.
- Observe proper lifting procedure when lifting any heavy luggage and make sure all luggage is lifted above knee height and below shoulder height.
I’m a baggage handler and I’ve suffered an injury in the course of my employment, am I entitled to claim industrial injury compensation?
If you are a baggage handler and you’ve suffered an injury during the course of your employment in the last 3 years and it wasn’t your fault then you may be entitled to claim compensation. Contact Accident Advice Helpline today for more information. Our lines are open 24/7 and a friendly, professional advisor is waiting to take your call, don’t delay!