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Turbulence Injuries Remain the Second Leading Cause of Flight Attendant Injuries

Date: December 27, 2022

Did you know that turbulence-related injuries remain the second leading cause of Flight Attendant injuries? For many years our AFA Safety, Health, and Security (SHS) Committee has worked closely with company personnel, from various divisions, within United on initiatives related to turbulence and its impact on Flight Attendant safety. With winter weather now more prevalent and causing some turbulent conditions around the system, and Flight Attendant injuries on the rise, your SHS Committee has some important reminders.

Both Pilots and Flight Attendants play important roles in trying to prevent turbulence-related injuries. Pilots should provide thorough preflight briefings, including any areas of known turbulence enroute and Flight Attendants should make note of this information and also ensure all Flight Attendants receive this information. It may also be necessary to coordinate a modification to planned inflight service based on this information or information received after departure. And most importantly, if turbulence is detected or the Flight Deck conveys turbulence commands, take immediate and appropriate action as outlined in the eFAOM. It’s always a good practice to maintain tidy galleys, with items stowed or in containers when not in use. An orderly and secure galley, including carts securely stowed, will allow for quick reaction times in the event of turbulence. Also, remember that carts should not restrict immediate access to jumpseats. When on crew rest, always use your seatbelt and avoid transitioning up or down bunk stairs during turbulence.

Turbulence SOP is associated with specific guidance and actions to keep you safe. Every Flight Attendant should be familiar with these actions in the eFAOM. Consistently evaluate conditions in the cabin and communicate those conditions and any associated actions taken to the Flight Deck and other Flight Attendants, who may be in another part of the cabin where conditions could differ. When turbulence threatens, take immediate measures to protect yourself. If you feel the need to be seated due to turbulence, sit down and buckle your seatbelt. Do not wait for an announcement from the Flight Deck to be seated; proactively protect yourself. When you are able to access an interphone, let the Purser, and as appropriate, the Flight Deck know what you are experiencing. Complacency can be your enemy. We cannot eliminate turbulence, and Pilots may not always have advanced warning of impending turbulence. However, communicating turbulent conditions, preparing and immediately responding to turbulence events or commands, and proactively seating yourself are key components to keeping everyone safe when it is encountered.

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