AA‘s regional Piedmont fined $15K for aircraft engine ingesting worker

Piedmont Airlines, an American Airlines regional, was fined $15K following an incident where an aircraft engine ingested an employee
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Piedmont Airlines was fined by the United States (US) Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) for an incident when a ground handling worker was ingested by an aircraft engine. 

The airline, which operates regional flights on behalf of American Airlines, was fined $15,625, the maximum allowed by law for a serious violation, for the incident, according to the Communications Workers of America (CWA). 

According to the labor collective, the OSHA found a serious breach of safety within the carrier, blaming it for not establishing “a place of employment which was free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees that were exposed to ingestion and jet blast hazards”. 

“OSHA also found that the lack of effective training, clear and unambiguous communication on the ramp, and clear instructions from supervisors as to when it is safe to approach an aircraft were deficiencies that contributed to” the employee’s death, the CWA continued. 

The incident happened in December 2022, when a ramp agent was ingested by an Embraer E175 engine. The aircraft, registered as N264NN and operated by another American Airlines regional Envoy Air on flight AA3408 from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM), landed at MGM with an inoperative Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). 

As such, the E175 required ground power on the ground. 

The late Courtney Edwards was seen “walking along the leading edge of the left wing and directly in front of the number one engine” when she was sucked in by the left-hand engine. According to a preliminary report by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the ground crew held a safety briefing prior to the aircraft landing at MGM, and again before the aircraft arrived at the gate. 

“A second safety ‘huddle’ was held shortly before the airplane arrived at the gate, to reiterate that the engines would remain running until ground power was connected,” read the report about the incident. 

CWA, as a union, represents ‘4,000 Piedmont Airlines passenger service agents’. 

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