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Workplace injuries thousands of feet in the air

For most people who travel by airline occasionally, flying typically seems like a safe, fast way of getting from Point A to Point B and back again. However, for people who are in the air on most days -- those who work in the airline industry -- bumpy rides can lead to workplace injuries.

While there hasn't been a fatal airline crash in the U.S. in almost four years, safety experts caution travelers and airline workers alike that wind turbulence creates real dangers that can lead to real injuries in the air.

Wind turbulence can jolt a plane dozens of feet as it takes off or lands, or hundreds of feet as the aircraft cruises.

One safety expert called it an unanticipated threat that can be a "really big hazard" for workers and travelers.

Since 2007, at least 49 airline crew members and 14 passengers suffered serious injuries in U.S. flights. Many more suffered minor injuries, according to reports from the federal government's National Transportation Safety Board.

Reports show that passengers have broken ankles and fractured ribs while making their way down the plane's aisle or simply while seated without their seat belt fastened.

Flight attendants are typically injured more often and more seriously than passengers, often when they're tossed by turbulence across the plane's cabin or into a beverage cart.

For passengers, the best protection against turbulence is to remain seated as much as possible, with seat belts fastened. For attendants and other employees, that option is often not available, so they're more likely to be exposed to the violent bounces of wind turbulence.

Our law firm represents workers who are injured on the job. For more information, visit our New York on-the-job injury page.

Source: USA Today, "Danger of turbulence remains safety threat to air travel," Sept. 11, 2012

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