New OSHA Safety Standards to Apply to Airline Cabin Crew Members

Pursuant to a directive included in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FAA Act), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a final policy allowing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to apply and enforce certain safety standards for aircraft cabin crewmembers.  Under the final policy, OSHA standards on hazardous chemicals, exposure to blood-borne pathogens, and hearing conservation programs, as well as rules on record-keeping, access to employee exposure and medical records, and the agency’s Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) anti-discrimination provision, will now apply to aircraft cabin members.

The FAA Act, among other things, required the FAA to develop a policy statement setting forth the circumstances in which OSHA safety requirements could apply to crewmembers while they are working on aircrafts.

According to the final policy, “OSHA anticipates that it will respond to and investigate complaints or referrals without a need for any inspection of aircraft in operation.” In addition, according to an FAA press release, OSHA and the FAA will develop a memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining procedures to ensure that OSHA does not apply any requirements that could adversely affect aviation safety.

The policy will take effect 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register.  Following publication, OSHA will conduct outreach regarding the new safety requirements.  Six months after the policy’s effective date, OSHA will begin enforcing the new policy.  

Photo credit: arsenik

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.