United Fined After Worker’s Foot Gets Crushed by an Aircraft Tire

June 7, 2024
“While not specifically regulated by an OSHA standard, there can be no argument that towing an airplane is, in fact, hazardous work,” Regional Solicitor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in New York said in a statement.

A judge upheld safety penalties against United Airlines over an accident in 2021 that resulted in an employee losing five toes when their foot was run over by an aircraft’s tire.

The ruling allows the Occupational Safety & Hazard Administration to levy $14,502 in fines against United Airlines for the accident that happened on Nov. 24, 2021, at Newark Liberty International Airport. A decision had been made in April by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, but the airline petitioned for an appeal late last month, OSHA officials said.

United Airlines did not immediately respond to a request from NJ Advance Media for comment.

The employee was part of the airline’s towing staff, officials said. Investigators say United Airlines failed to follow company practices on towing airplanes.

“United Airlines could have prevented an employee from suffering a debilitating injury had the company followed its own safety procedures for towing a jet weighing as much as 50 tons,” OSHA Area Director Joseph Czapik in Parsippany said in a statement. “This operation is recognized by the airline industry as a dangerous and well-known hazard and proper procedures must be followed to prevent serious injuries or worse.”

The judge also ruled that United Airlines left technicians vulnerable to serious injuries, according to a news release. United Airline’s position had been that the accident was the result of employee misconduct.

“While not specifically regulated by an OSHA standard, there can be no argument that towing an airplane is, in fact, hazardous work,” Regional Solicitor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in New York said in a statement. “As our case vigorously demonstrated — and the judge agreed — United Airlines was liable for not enforcing its own safety procedures for this dangerous operation.”

Thank you for relying on us to provide the local news you can trust. Please consider supporting NJ.com with a subscription.

Eric Conklin may be reached at [email protected].

©2024 Advance Local Media LLC. Visit nj.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.