Preventing Non-fatal Aviation-related Injuries & Illnesses in Alaska

Mechanic works on aircraft engine, workers place tail stands under aircraft in preparation for loading.

Mechanic works on aircraft engine, workers place tail stands under aircraft in preparation for loading.

Alaska experiences the 5th highest rate of non-fatal occupational injury and illness in the US, and the rates of non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses for Alaskans are higher than for all US workers in twelve out of thirteen reported industry sectors (BLS, 2011).  The health burden, medical costs, and cost of work loss resulting from non-fatal occupational injury and illness are substantial. During 2000–2013, the State of Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development received over 320,000 reports of occupational injury or illness, and more than $3 billion was paid out in workers’ compensation benefits.

NIOSH is partnering with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development to analyze workers’ compensation data for aviation-related injuries and illnesses.  Descriptive analyses of the workers’ compensation data will be conducted and reports of injury/illness will be categorized by type, severity, and body part affected; claimant occupation; employer industry and industry sector; geographical location where the injury/illness occurred; and where possible, how the injury happened. Results of this analysis will allow NIOSH to work with industry and government partners to develop industry appropriate safety and health recommendations specific to job tasks and work practices, working environments and weather conditions, employer size, and type of operation.

These findings will be used in the development of a statewide survey of airline operators, commercial pilots, and other aviation industry workers. The survey will provide information on the characteristics of the aviation industry workforce, company and worker practices, operational policies, and perceptions and beliefs regarding aviation safety. This information will be used to inform safety recommendations, guide intervention development and implementation, and direct future research.

For more information on the previous survey that was conducted in 2000–2001, please see Survey and Analysis of Air Transportation Safety Among Air Carrier Operators and Pilots in Alaska.

Other Aviation Safety and Health Projects at NIOSH

Aircrew Safety and Health
Aircrew job hazards have changed over the years, from cigarette smoke on flights to heightened safety concerns as a result of 9/11. Aircrew, including pilots and flight attendants, experience the mental and physical stress of the job as well as potential hazards, such as cosmic radiation, communicable disease, and pesticides. Here you can learn more about common crewmember concerns, and what you can do to keep yourself safe and healthy.

Reducing Musculoskeletal Disorders among Airport Baggage Screeners and Handlers
Baggage screeners and handlers at airports are exposed to manual baggage lifting and handling that are associated with work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) evaluated two mechanical lift aids to determine if they could reduce the risk of WMSDs. The two mechanical lift aids reduced some physical WMSD risk factors such as hand loading and spinal compression force

Page last reviewed: January 3, 2017