When you think of jobs in the airline industry, you probably think of pilots and flight attendants, but hundreds of other employees are necessary to get you in the air. In 2018, O’Hare International Airport was the busiest airport in the world, transporting more than 83 million passengers and 1.6 million metric tons of freight. That workload can take its toll on airport workers.

Airport employees face some of the same dangers that many employees deal with, plus some risks unique to airport settings. Fortunately, Illinois workers’ compensation laws cover occupational injuries and diseases so that airport personnel hurt on the job can receive fair compensation during recovery.

Hazards

The most common workplace injuries are usually slips, trips and falls; for airport crews, those falls may occur from significant heights such as movable stairs and airplane doors. Many positions involve operating machinery and handling heavy loads. Fuelers and mechanics face exposure to hazardous jet fuel and other engine fluids. Anyone on the tarmac is regularly exposed to excessive noise levels and extreme temperatures.

Injuries

Some injuries are an obvious result of trauma, such as when a fall causes broken bones. Other issues are less apparent, like back ailments caused by bending, lifting and twisting. Occupational illnesses include headaches due to exposure to jet fumes and contact dermatitis caused by certain solvents. In the summer, employees on the tarmac may suffer heatstroke; in winter, they may be subject to frostbite. After prolonged employment, they may suffer hearing loss.

Prevention

Airport employees must be constantly aware of their surroundings, particularly when in close proximity to aircraft. Personal protective gear can limit exposure to hazardous conditions and substances. However, sometimes, even the most conscientious employee can have an accident or develop an occupational illness. If that happens to you, be sure to seek medical care immediately. You deserve proper care, and the law states that you deserve compensation for injuries and illnesses related to your employment. Do not let worry over paying the bills prevent you from receiving the care you need.