Any individual who is employed as an airport baggage handler with work duties including – but not limited to – loading, unloading, transporting and storing luggage, suitcases and other cargo including packages, cargo, etc should be provided with safe working conditions so that their health or well-being is not impacted.
If this is not the case and any injuries are experienced then the worker will have a strong case to make an airport baggage handler injury claim. In order to do successfully, there are a number of conditions must be proven.
Causes of Airport Baggage Handler Injury Claims
Airport baggage handlers must complete a range of duties that may result in an injury if they are not carried out using the required safety measures.
- Loading and removing luggage and baggage to/from the airplane luggage hold
- Transferring luggage from point to point in the airport.
- Baggage collection, sorting and reviewing the luggage manifest
- Ensure that all baggage is stowed securely and that the weight is evenly distributed inside the luggage hold.
- In some cases baggage handlers may be charged with loading and unloading carts containing beverages, food, cutlery and other equipment with refreshments.
- Shifting motorized and non-motorized mobile stairs for passengers boarding and disembarking the aircraft.
Injuries may come about as a result of a number of factors such as faulty equipment, staff negligence, confined working spaces, inadequate manual handling training, unacceptable working conditions, breach of work and safety legislation or highly demanding productivity targets.
Typical Airport Baggage Handler Injuries
The most commonly seen airport work injuries involves a slip, trip or fall in a normal accident. In most cases these are avoidable and happen as a result of the absence of correct safety measures are in place.
Airport management and airline owners could be deemed liable if it they were negligent in ensuring a safe environment for their employees.
Baggage handlers are expected to lift and maneuver heavy loads in very confined spaces. There is an obligation on the airport and airline to ensure that there is no risk for repetitive injury strain or any other suffering caused by workers operating in confined positions, such as a luggage hold. This is also the case for moving mobiles stairs, baggage carts and oversized baggage.
Some of the injuries that Airport baggage handlers typically experience due to inadequate or unsafe working conditions include:
- Back injuries as a result of poor manual handling
- Slip, trip or fall accidents in the car park
- Food poisoning from unsafe or out of date food
- Lift and escalator accidents
- Heavy/rough landing
- Head and brain injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Fractures, broken bones and sprains
Legal Obligations Legislation and Manual Handling Injuries
Dublin Airport and the operating airlines have a duty of care to ensure that all customers and staff are provided with a safe environment whether they are working in the airport or boarding a flight. Legally they are obliged to complete ongoing risk assessments and eliminate any possible hazards and prevent accidents and injuries.
The Health and Safety Authority has produced a special information guide to specifically deal with manual handling at Dublin Airport. You can view it here. This literature refers to the extra pressure placed on baggage handlers as airlines require shorter turnaround times while the baggage loads remain the same.
The Guide to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 can also be viewed here. It states that employers are legally obliged to carry out ongoing safety assessments, identify all possible risks and address these in a timely fashion. The publication also identifies a number of standard risk factors including load characteristics, physical effort required to move load, working environment, activity requirements and the characteristics of the individual doing the manual handling.
Making a Compensation Claim for Airport Baggage Handler Injuries
In order to give your compensation claim for an injury due to manual handling at the airport you should complete the following steps. However, it is important to remember that, even if you complete all of these steps, you should speak to a legal expert familiar with claims such as these. They will be best able to provide you with the knowledge you require to decide your next course of action.
- Tend to your own health. No amount of compensation will make up for a long term injury so it is vital that you seek treatment from a medical professional as soon as possible. The notes that they take on your ailment will also assist in any future legal action.
- Report the accident to Dublin Airport so that there is an official record of your injury occurring. Request a copy of the incident report that you submit. This report will also be important for when you make your claim so it is crucial to detail the time, date and any other additional information in relation to how you sustained your injury.
- Document the accident so that you will be able to advise a solicitor as to how your injuries were sustained. You should try to include witness contact information, pictures of the accident scene, receipts for any additional expenses you incurred due to your injuries, copies of any medical records/examinations that a doctor may have carried out on you and any CCTV footage that may be relevant for your legal action.
Once you have this information gathered together you should contact an experienced personal injury solicitor to help you with your airport baggage handler injury claim.