United Airlines Cited for Repeat,Serious Safety Hazards

The company faces $101,300 in penalties following an OSHA inspection.

United Airlines Inc. allegedly has exposed ground operation workers at the Newark, N.J., airport to hazardous conditions, prompting OSHA to issue 16 citations and propose penalties of $101,300, according to the agency's news release.

The safety violations were found during a January 2014 inspection that is part of an OSHA effort to focus on workplaces with high rates of injuries and illness. The inspection found three repeat violations that had been discovered by OSHA during inspections in 2011 and 2013.

"United Airlines should immediately address these safety violations to prevent worker injuries and ensure a safe workplace," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. "These workers face electrical hazards, falls, and being struck by objects and equipment daily. Their safety is critical. Airline ground operations safety is of vital importance, not only to the workers, but to the millions of Americans who depend on air travel every day."

The repeat violations, which carry a $55,000 penalty, were cited for United Continental Holdings Inc.'s alleged failure to clearly mark exits located inside facilities where food service employees, baggage handlers, and gate agents worked; keep unused openings closed on an electrical box where conduit or knockout plugs were located; and use extension cords as a substitute for required permanent wiring at Newark Liberty International Airport.

The company also was cited for nine serious violations, including allegedly exposing aircraft mechanics to fall hazards while working from a ground support vehicle and struck-by hazards by storing materials such as aircraft parts, including landing gear tires and aircraft struts and fasteners, on storage racks that were damaged and not anchored. Those violations come with a $46,300 penalty.

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