OSHA fines American Airlines subsidiary $15k after worker gets sucked into plane engine, dies

Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines, received a fine from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after investigators concluded that the airline was responsible for the death of Courtney Edwards, a ground agent for Piedmont Airlines, on New Year’s Eve.

According to the investigation conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Edwards, a 34-year-old mother of three, tragically lost her life when she was pulled into the engine of American Airlines Flight 3408 shortly after it had landed.

The aircraft had just finished a journey from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas.

A worker from the ground crew of American Airlines passed away after being ‘sucked into the engine’ at an airport in Alabama.

The maximum penalty under the law for OSHA is $15,625.

OSHA stated that the employer did not provide employees with a safe workplace or the necessary equipment to avoid hazards that could result in death or serious physical harm, such as ingestion and jet blast hazards, which were known to the employer.

Crystal Byrd, a representative at Piedmont Airlines, informed the Dallas Morning News that the organization is currently examining the occurrence.

We appreciate the thorough review that will ensure accomplishment and recommendations from OSHA. Byrd said, “Safety is always the top priority for our team members.”

According to a positive NTSB preliminary report released in January, the airport’s ground crew conducted two safety briefings right before the plane arrived at the gate. The penalty follows thereafter.

As per the NTSB report, the engine was powered down and a signal light was switched off, staff members were instructed not to come near the aircraft until further notice.

The co-pilot attempted to inform the workers on the ground that the engines were still on, but first, he read the report from NTSB which stated that engine number 1 had an immediate automatic shutdown followed by a violent shaking of the airplane, and then he immediately saw a warning light illuminate.

The report stated that he was unsure of what had occurred before leaving the flight deck, so he should investigate and ensure that both batteries are shut off and emergency lights are extinguished.

Edwards was observed in surveillance footage situated at the rear of the aircraft but vanished from sight.

“She was later pulled off her feet and into the functioning engine,” the report states.

American Airlines is allowing customers to change the dates of their flights at no extra cost because of the impact of smoke from wildfires on the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic areas.

The findings from the National Transportation Safety Board suggested that Edwards failed to uphold a secure distance until the airplane’s revolving beacon light ceased.

“We are deeply affected by the incident, which involved a regional carrier of American Airlines, Piedmont Airlines, at Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM),” stated American Airlines in a statement released shortly after the accident.

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The statement further expressed, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and our local team members.” “In the midst of this challenging period, they require the backing they have to ensure everyone involved remains concentrated.”

The corporation has 15 business days from the time it receives the citation to adhere to the payment of its fines.

A fundraiser was created online to support funeral costs and Edwards’ children. It has raised more than $122,000 as of Tuesday morning.