PROBLEM WITH CABIN AIR QUALITY?
WHO TO CALL – HOW TO REPORT – WHERE TO GET MORE INFO
AFA continues to collect reports of problems with cabin air quality at Alaska Airlines. Some incidents involve exposure to electrical smoke, engine exhaust, or deicing fluid. For many, the source of the problem is never conclusively identified. Nonetheless, Flight Attendants have reported health-related symptoms associated with several recent air quality incidents. Often, symptoms are temporary and resolve by themselves. Other times, symptoms caused by exposure to airborne chemicals can be serious and long-lasting. AFA is particularly concerned with the possibility of exposure to oil or hydraulic fluid fumes that could enter the cabin via the aircraft air supply. To answer your questions and provide practical information, your Master Executive Council (MEC) is providing these two important publications (click on the link to open file):
If a chemical contaminant is in the air, people usually notice a peculiar odor (e.g. dirty socks, wet dog, oil/chemical/electrical, etc.). In a minority of cases, there may be a smoke or a mist.
Regardless of the phase of flight, rule out non-ventilation in-cabin sources of odors as quickly as possible and promptly report the problem to the pilots. If you notice an unusual odor before passengers board, step off the aircraft at the earliest opportunity. Provide as much information as possible (nature of odor, location in cabin, suspected source, any symptoms, etc.). Maintenance needs to check and address the source of the problem. In all cases, notify your supervisor as soon as possible to initiate the company’s investigation process.
To remind you of what to do if you are exposed to oil/hydraulic fluid fumes, your MEC is also distributing this updated [AIR QUALITY INFORMATION CARD] for you to print, cut, fold, and carry, either behind your airline ID or in your purse/wallet. It is important to have the information at your fingertips if you have a problem with air quality in the cabin. If you are exposed to onboard smoke/fumes, you may also find this [AIR QUALITY INCIDENT CHECKLIST] useful.
- The AFA Air Quality Information Card tells you who to call at the union, what company paperwork you need to complete, and what resources are available. It is very important that you document exposure to fumes by filing both I-21 and ASAP reports.
- If you get sick, the AFA Air Quality Information Card directs you to see a doctor to document your symptoms and seek relief. In very serious cases, a trip to the emergency room or urgent care clinic may be necessary, but more often than not a doctor’s visit will suffice. Know that your claim doesn’t start until you see a medical doctor, so if you are sick, don’t postpone getting medical care. Many doctors have not heard about oil or hydraulic fumes on aircraft making people sick, so make sure you provide a copy of the FAA-funded guide for health care providers titled “Exposure to Aircraft Bleed Air Contaminants Among Airline Workers” and the engine oil/hydraulic fluid safety data sheet. All information is athttp://alaskamec.org/committees/air-quality/.
AFA is here to help.
Be aware of your environment, report problems, and put your health and safety first.