Accidents at Work Claims: Baggage HandlersSeptember 2, 2010
Despite the modern systems, with barcodes and conveyor belts, baggage handling in airports has been identified as an industry with significant risks. The job is physical demanding and can be strenuous work, which may easily lead to an industrial injury.
Recent research shows that musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are common among workers in the baggage handling department. 73% of those studied had experienced trouble with their lower back; 51% with their knees and; 43% with their shoulders. In total, MSDs account for approximately 50% of all injuries at UK airports, so they are clearly a rather big problem.
The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health believes that this new research has helped to identify some possible solutions which could help to reduce this major problem for airport workers, and particularly baggage handlers.
The UK currently holds a limit of 32kg for a single bag, and American investigators think that this has had a positive effect on reducing such work injury cases, and therefore work accident claims, yet the US has not yet introduced such a policy.
The risk can be minimised in a number of ways, with most of the solutions coming from the employers in the workplace themselves. With ergonomic planning and training, such as ensuring the trolleys are at a 45-degree angle to the conveyor belt, the amount of torso-twisting that a handler must perform is reduced significantly.
Of course, failure to train personnel in appropriate lifting techniques or to supply appropriate equipment may open an employer to a compensation claim if a work injury ensues, so not only is it in the interests of the employees to gain sufficient training, it is most certainly in the interests of an employer also.