We frequently write about hazardous occupations and unsafe working conditions. Most of the time, we write about industries with a high rate of worker injury, like construction. However, we do emphasize from time to time that any American workplace can be unsafe and can inspire workplace accidents if employers do not prioritize the wellbeing of workers.
A good illustration of this reality occurred recently at an airport frequented by many New Yorkers. Newark airport in New Jersey plays host to a number of high-profile airlines. Travelers from all over the world frequent this airport, as do airline workers from all over the globe. Unfortunately, this seemingly ultra-safe workspace (rarely do American workplaces employ the kinds of safety-minded checks and balances that airports do) is apparently quite dangerous for workers employed by United Airlines.
According to the New York Daily News, United Airlines has been cited by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration with 16 workplace safety violations related to its Newark airport operations and will be fined as much as $101,300 for its carelessness. The director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office explained that, “These workers face electrical hazards, falls, and being struck by objects and equipment daily.”
Apparently, United was cited for similar violations after OSHA inspected its Newark terminal in both 2011 and 2013 as well. This story illustrates that it does not necessarily matter if you work in a high risk industry or not. If your employer does not prioritize safety, you may be at risk of suffering occupational injury or illness no matter where you work.
Source: New York Daily News, “United Airlines cited with 16 OSHA violations, hit with fines for repeated citations,” Ginger Adams Otis, July 23, 2014