There are many people who work in the commercial aviation industry across the nation and here in Pittsburgh, with airline hubs and numerous large airports in the area. Airline unions have sought additional workplace protections for flight attendants since the Federal Aviation Administration began overseeing in 1975. Attendants claimed that the health issues connected with air quality, noise and the exposure to radiation as a result of time spent on the airplanes has not been properly addressed by the FAA.
The Association of Flight Attendants and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants have pushed for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to gain authority over these issues. The agreement has been made, with OSHA overseeing some of these issues, and the FAA will take precedence over issues involving flight safety.
The FAA currently regulates sanitation on the aircrafts, but air quality within the cabin has not been regulated per the 1975 agreement. The FAA does oversee air flow and pressurization, which are more safety concerns than anything else. The air quality issue will hopefully be solved by OSHA so as to prevent workplace illness and other issues that can arise for flight attendants and pilots.
Workers in many industries face various health and safety risks in the workplace. Though safety is obviously a main concern for flight attendants and pilots, there are numerous health risks that can arise as a result of working on an aircraft. Air quality, radiation exposure and hearing issues are commonly associated with this occupation. Workers' compensation and other legal options are available for workers who have bene injured or become ill as a result of their workplace.
Source: Bloomberg, "OSHA to Get Oversight of Flight-Attendant Work Conditions," Alan Levin, Nov. 30, 2012