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As airports get busy, baggage handlers face job-related hazards

On Behalf of | Nov 12, 2021 | Workplace Injuries |

As more travelers venture out and airlines resume routes, more workers are needed at places such as Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Among them is as a baggage handler, one of the most physically demanding jobs.

A baggage handler’s primary duties are to load and unload passenger luggage as well as other cargo. This labor-intensive job includes working outdoors in the cold winter and humid summer and continuously lifting heavy bags and packing luggage onto flights. Among the job hazards: a serious work-related injury.

Overexertion and falls

It is not unheard of for a baggage handler to lift items weighing up to 75 pounds and push heavy carts filled with passenger luggage. Along with the job come the occasional aches, pains and strains that, sometimes, grow worse as do certain musculoskeletal injuries.

Among the injuries that a baggage handler faces include:

  • Repetitive motion: A workday filled with hours of repetitive actions from lifting, moving and handing off items may lead to tendonitis, bursitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Overexertion: Lifting and pushing heavy luggage and equipment may take a toll on a person’s body. The list of related injuries includes ones to the lower back, knees, shoulders, neck and tendons. Hernias and nerve damage are possible, too.
  • Slips, trips and falls: Making an improper lift also may lead to a person losing his or her footing, leading to a tumble and injuries such as a concussion, bleeding on the brain and fractures. A slippery floor or slippery tarmac also may lead to a fall.
  • Weather-related ailments: It is not uncommon to work outdoors in different types of weather from the humid summer to the cold winter. In these scenarios, dehydration, heat stroke or frostbite are potential hazards.

Proper training and equipment

The airlines know how valuable baggage handlers are in their daily operations. These companies rely on these workers and should clearly understand the job hazards that confront them. Providing proper safety training along with the right equipment will not only help baggage handlers perform their duties but also do them safely.