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April 1992, Vol. 115, No. 4
S ince passage of the Airline Deregulation Act, economists and public policy officials have been debating its effects.1 The debate has been confined to the effects of deregulation on industry concentration, productivity, pricing, and passenger safety. Several studies have been conducted regarding labor-management relations in the airline industry following deregulation,2 but only one study has investigated the health and safety of the workers.3
While studies have focused on the risks of flying from the passenger's viewpoint, occupational safety and health hazards faced by airline workers have been ignored. However, some of the same conditions that cause occupational injuries and illnesses in the airline industry may prove harmful to passengers.4
This article briefly discusses the structure of the airline industry. It also identifies the characteristics of injuries and illnesses experienced by pilots and flight attendants such as: principal physical condition, part of the body affected, source, and event.
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1 See, for example, Elizabeth E. Bailey, David R. Graham, Daniel P. Kaplan, Deregulating the Airlines (Cambridge, MA the MIT Press, 1985); U. S. General Accounting Office, Deregulation: Increased Competition is Making Airlines More Efficient and Responsive to Consumers (Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1985); S. A. Morrison and C. Winston, The Economic Effects of Airline Deregulation (Washington, The Brookings Institution, 1986); Alfred E. Khan, "Airline Deregulation-A Mixed bag, But a Clear Success, Nevertheless," Transportation Law Journal, Vol. 16, No. 2, 1988, pp. 229-52; Leon N. Moses and Ian Savage, eds., Transportation Safety in An Age of Deregulation (New York, Oxford University Press, 1989); and Paul Stephen Dempsey, Flying Blind: The Failure of Airline Deregulation (Washington, The Economic Policy Institute, 1990).
2 See Herbert Northrup, "The New Employee Relations Climate in Airlines," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, January 1983, pp. 167-81; Charles Craypo, The Economics of Collective Bargaining (Washington, The Bureau of National Affairs, 1985), pp. 114-39; Peter Cappelli, "Airlines," in David B. Lipsky and Clifford B. Donn, eds., Collective bargaining in American Industry (Lexington, MA, Lexington Books, 1987); Jean T. McKelvey, ed., Cleared for Takeoff: Airline Labor Relations Since Deregulation (Ithaca, NY, ILR Press, 1988); and Kenneth W. Thornicroft, "Airline Deregulation and the Airline Labor Market," Journal of Labor Research, Spring 1989, pp. 163-81. The general consensus of these studies is that there has been a weakening in the collective bargaining strength of the labor unions in the airline industry.
3 W. Kip Viscusi, "The Effect of Transportation Deregulation on Worker Safety," Leon N. Moses and Ian Savage, Transportation Safety in an Age of Deregulation, pp. 70-89. This study utilizes aggregate injury and illness data for the entire airline industry.
4 Ibid., p. 70.
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