Assisting passengers during boarding, in-flight and departure, flight attendants largely perform their work duties in airplane passenger cabins. As such, many overlook the possibility of injuries in this field.
However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, flight attendants suffered 4,980 workplace injuries and illnesses in 2019. Several common causes contribute to the occurrence of occupational injuries for aircrew workers.
Repetitive motions and overexertion commonly lead to work-related injuries for flight attendants. Repetitive movements include things such as passing out and picking up drinks, while overexertion may result from lifting heavy bags into overhead bins or aiding passengers with mobility issues. In 2019, these types of injuries accounted for 35.9 percent of those suffered by workers in this field.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in-flight turbulence often contributes to work-related injuries for aircrew members. Turbulence involves changes in the air motion around the plane, which sometimes causes bumps or, in severe cases, throws aircraft momentarily out of control or causes structural damage. When such unexpected movements occur, it commonly leads to imbalance, causing some slips, falls, or contact with objects or equipment.
Confined working spaces
The confined space in airplane cabins also plays a role in occupational injuries for flight attendants. Due to limited space to stand and move while performing their job duties, flight attendants must commonly engage in awkward and constrained postures. As a result, they may suffer musculoskeletal disorders such as strains and sprains.
When flight attendants suffer injuries on the job, it often affects their ability to go to work. Those who experience such injuries may consider pursuing their options, such as filing for workers’ compensation to receive the benefits they need and deserve.