New OSHA Cabin Rules Take Effect this Month

 - September 9, 2013, 1:25 PM

New work rules governing occupational safety and health conditions for cabin crew will become effective September 26. The new rules will apply to anyone working aboard any aircraft that legally requires a cabin crewmember, whether operating under Part 121, 135 or 91 rules.

The new policy is based upon a proposal the agency published last December that drew nearly 200 industry comments. The comments fell into two discernable groups: union members in favor of the changes; and airlines, along with their trade associations, generally opposed to them.

The FAA considered the negative comments in a number of areas from airline groups and modified some of the new policy based on those suggestions. For example, Southwest Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) requested that the FAA and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration provide clarification regarding enforcement boundaries on board the aircraft. The FAA agreed and said specific procedures for addressing OSHA enforcement protocols will be developed through interagency collaboration. There has been no indication how enforcement issues will be handled aboard Part 91-operated aircraft.

The FAA did not, however, agree to ALPA’s request that airline pilots and their working environments be included in the new policy.



Over 30 years flying jet aircraft for numerous airlines through mergers and acquisitions. I have noticed, and experienced varied health problems concerning pilots including myself! I have lost count on how many airline pilots have had skin cancer due to the radiation exposure at higher altitudes, not to mention the cockpit air, and who knows what else! What is good for one group, should be good for all. Pilots and Flight Attendants work together in very similar circumstances and exposed to numerous health risk. Its about this issue is addressed, but it should be addressed to the concern of all crew members!

ALPA is opposed to OSHA coverage for Pilots. Instead it seeks to maintain the FAA's coverage of Occupational Safety and Health for pilots as has been the case for the last 38 years. From the ALPA comment on the FAA policy proposal, "...According to the policy statement, the FAA intends to continue exercising its statutory authority to “fully occupy and exhaust” the field of flight deck crew occupational safety and health while aircraft crewmembers are on aircraft in operation. ALPA agrees wholeheartedly with this statement and its goals and looks forward to working collaboratively with the FAA to address flight deck crew occupational safety and health issues, without involving OSHA." Other pilot unions hold the opposite position.

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