Aviation Safety Research Projects

Floatplanes in their slips at Lake Hood in Anchorage, AK.

Floatplanes in their slips at Lake Hood in Anchorage, AK.

The NIOSH Alaska Field Station was founded in 1991 to address the high number of fatalities in aviation and commercial fishing. Aviation continues to be the second leading cause of work-related fatalities in Alaska, and the NIOSH Aviation Safety Research Program maintains an Alaskan focus. However, the program also researches aviation hazards and risks in other parts of the country, in specific types of aviation operations, and in industries that rely on aviation. Our two primary projects address improving safety and health in the aviation industry, and reducing work-related injuries among aviation workers in Alaska. For more information about the results and outputs of these projects, please visit the Solutions or Publications pages of the aviation safety website.

Current Research Projects

  • Aviation Safety and Health
    The purpose of the Aviation Safety and Health project is to reduce the number of work-related fatalities in the aviation industry. This goal will be reached by collaborating with industry to improve our collective knowledge of aviation industry hazards, and by working together to implement effective safety interventions. Efforts by NIOSH and aviation industry partners have led to decreases in the occupational pilot fatality rate. Previous interventions in the aviation industry to date have not addressed injuries and fatalities to maintainers, ground crews, and cabin crews. It is not known if these workers have also benefitted from changes in the industry culture. NIOSH continues to work with industry partners to improve safety and health for all workers in the aviation industry.
  • Improving Safety in the Commercial Aviation Industry in Alaska
    The overall goal of this project is to better understand the distribution and characteristics of non-fatal occupational injury and illness in all industries in Alaska and reduce work-related fatalities, injuries, and illness in the Alaskan aviation industry. This project will use workers’ compensation data to describe the burden and characteristics of work-related non-fatal injury and illness among aviation workers in Alaska during 2000–2013. Researchers will then use these findings to guide development of a survey of commercial airline operators, pilots, and other aviation industry workers in Alaska. Data from this survey will be analyzed to provide updated recommendations for intervention strategies to reduce injuries and illnesses for all aviation workers.

Page last reviewed: January 4, 2017