OSHA vs FAA: Who Sets the Standards for Aircraft Cabin Crew and Flight Deck Crew?
- Anna Kozak
Given the FAA’s stated exercise of its legislative authority, OSHA historically has not attempted to enforce the provisions of the OSH Act with respect to flight deck crew on an aircraft in operation.
Where the FAA has not preempted OSHA from enforcing its standards and regulations, OSHA generally has exercised its authority with respect to the working conditions of aviation employees, and OSHA and the FAA have developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for purposes of coordinating their efforts.
On August 27, 2013 the FAA released a new Rule Making Document: Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Standards for Aircraft Cabin Crewmembers. This rule making affects cabin crewmembers on aircraft, except for flight deck crew. This rule includes Hazard Communications, Bloodborne Pathogens, and Noise Protection policies for Aircraft Cabin Crewmembers. This action became effective September 26, 2013; however, OSHA didn’t begin enforcing the standards until March 26, 2014. At this time, further planning does not exist to expand OSHA’s authority over cabin crewmembers beyond these three standards and formerly approved recordkeeping and access to exposure and medical records regulations.
On August 26, 2014, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) detailing the procedural process in which the FAA and OSHA enforce the standards became effective. In spite of the efforts to make the aircraft cabin safer for crewmembers, the FAA acknowledges that it has not produced enforceable regulations to address employee safety and health issues associated with working conditions in and around the aircraft. The FAA determined in the future it would propose modifications to address these occupational safety and health issues through the regulatory process.
For aircraft cabin crewmember training that meets the OSHA requirements check out Advanced Aircrew Academy’s Occupational Health eLearning module.