Photo Credit: Photo by Miguel Angel Sanz
American Airlines Flight Attendants Reprimanded By Carrier For Reporting Toxic Fumes In Cabin
According to NBC News, there’s contention between American Airlines and some of their flight attendants.
The outlet reported that the carrier “illicitly retaliated against flight attendants who reported toxic fumes entering airplane cabins, according to an investigation by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).”
The problem was first reported last August by a whistle blower, and American Airlines clapped back.
This raises a deeper question about corporate greed and apparent indifference in the face of legitimate safety concerns.
1. How Did American Respond?
NBC News explained that American punished flight attendants by “docking attendance points and discouraging them from reporting work-related injuries and illnesses.”
Timothy Minor, the OSHA Area Director based in Texas, said:
“Our investigation found that the flight attendants engaged in protected activities when they reported illnesses related to jet fuel fumes seeping into the aircraft cabin.”
“Workers must feel empowered to inform managers and others about potential hazards that jeopardize workers’ safety and health.”
He also said, “federal law protects workers’ rights to voice workplace safety and health concerns without the fear of retaliation. When employers punish employees for doing so, they create a chilling effect that may stop workers from reporting future issues, putting their health and well-being, and that of co-workers, at risk.”
2. A Flight Attendant Association Also Chimed In
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) condemned American Airlines’ actions.
The association represents the “25,000 flight attendants” who work for the carrier.
“The fact that American Airlines is assigning points that can lead to termination for lingering effects of toxic fume inhalation and other work-related injuries is unacceptable,” the organization said. “We are encouraged that OSHA has agreed with APFA and affected Flight Attendants.”
3. What Penalty Will American Face?
NBC reported “OSHA is proposing a penalty of nearly $7,000.”
Fox Business wrote, “the company was given 15 days from the receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.”
American Airlines issued a response, saying, “the safety of our team members and customers is always American’s top priority. We are reviewing the findings of the OSHA investigation.”
4. What Are The Effects Of Jet Fume Exposure?
According to Elite Medical Experts, “human studies have found evidence of neurologic effects including headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, in coordination, irritability, problems with attention and memory, narcosis (stupor or unconsciousness), and gait disturbances.”
Delta Airlines came under fire in 2020 for dumping jet fuel over several elementary schools in Los Angeles.
NPR explained, “the Los Angeles County Fire Department said 20 children and 11 adults were treated for minor injuries when the fuel fell on the playground of Park Avenue Elementary in Cudahy.”
“First responders also treated six people at Tweedy Elementary and six at San Gabriel Elementary in South Gate, along with one at Graham Elementary in Florence-Graham.”
5. Criticism Online Was Harsh
A few people sounded off in the comments section on MSN’s page.
$7,000 is a complete joke,” wrote PW. “They make this much money from a single 1st class ticket going overseas! OSHA and these regulatory agencies have too close of relationships with these airlines and lose their perspectives!”
James Evans added, “shame shame on the evilness of airlines/ceo.”
$7,000. Is this a typo?” asked R2D2. “How about $7,000,000?”