When packing for a trip, most people who plan on checking their luggage consider the weight of their bags because it's commonly known that if a bag weighs over a certain amount they might be forced to pay an extra fee. What they don't think about is who will be handling their bag and how the constant heavy lifting affects those individuals.
Anyone who works as a baggage handler has an extremely demanding job. No matter which airline you're working for, the stress of the job is the same and it's up to you to take the best care of your body as possible. If you're a baggage handler who has sustained an injury due to the hazards of the job, you may be eligible for workers' compensation.
Here are a few potential dangers baggage handlers face on a daily basis:
Lifting heavy or oversized bags
Constantly lifting heavy or oversized bags puts a lot of stress on your body and is one of the leading causes of workplace injuries. Improper technique and awkward posture are major contributing factors to injuries associated with heavy lifting.
When you have a job that requires heavy lifting on a daily basis, it's difficult to allow your body the amount of time it needs to heal. If you're finding yourself in this position, it's important to speak up right away. It's better to take a couple days off and let yourself heal than to push it and risk further damage.
Most people want to work as efficiently as possible, sometimes this means handling more than one bag at a time. You picked up a bag that wasn't too heavy so you decide to grab a lighter one with your other hand; it's more productive, right? It might get the job done faster but the repeated motion of handling uneven loads can cause serious harm to your body.
Parking baggage carts too far from the beltloader
This is a strenuous job and needs to be done thoughtfully. Take the extra couple seconds to confirm that the cart is properly lined up with the beltloader. This is an extremely heavy piece of equipment and will save your body from unnecessary pushing, pulling and carrying heavy bags for longer distances.
Poorly positioned beltloader
When a beltloader is positioned too high or too low it causes extra strain on your body. You might be forced to extend your arms overhead or bend down lower to place luggage in the cargo bin. Both of these scenarios leave you more unstable with less control of the bags.
Awkward lifting in the cargo bin
Loading/unloading luggage into the cargo bin is very demanding; it involves moving around and handling bags in very tight spaces. Educate yourself on proper techniques for these positions, take time to stretch your muscles thoroughly and always try to place heavier baggage on the bottom.
What to do if you're injured on the job
Workplace injuries are common among baggage handlers. If you become injured at work, you need to act right away. Report the injury to your boss and seek medical treatment immediately following the accident. Strongly consider hiring a lawyer who focuses on workers' comp claims and file your claim as soon as possible.