Sea-Tac Airport workers complain of unsafe work conditions

A group of Sea-Tac Airport workers say their daily work routine is filled with safety violations and health hazards. The workers claim they’re exposed to jet fuel, harsh chemicals and even human waste.

The dozens of workers who have stepped forward with complaints say their jobs are no longer safe, and they point to airplane refueling trucks run by ASIG, which they say often leak.

“At least once a day I’ll go out and something’s leaking, leaking jet fuel somewhere. And while they’ll go out and fix it, it will be back in a maintenance bay within a few days,” said a fuel truck worker.

Those workers and others have filed complaints with the Department of Labor and Industries against four separate companies alleging health and safety violations. The workers say the airlines are the real problem because they hired the companies in question.

Earlier this year the Federal Aviation Administration investigated similar concerns about refueling trucks and other operations and didn’t find any violations. Workers say the hazards are part of their daily existence and are getting support from others in the airline industry. Now state inspectors are stepping in.

“The flight attendants at Alaska, we see the broken equipment, we see the conditions they are exposed to, and it breaks our hearts,” said a flight attendant with Alaska Airlines.

Labor and Industries started a comprehensive round of inspections earlier this week and says it could be months before its investigation is complete.

If you are injured due to unsafe working conditions in Washington you are normally entitled to worker’s compensation, but Washington’s worker’s compensation scheme prevents you from recovering directly from your employer for your injuries, even if your injuries were caused by your employer’s negligence. However, in situations where there are multiple contractors working together like at Sea-Tac Airport, injured workers may be entitled to recover from entities other than their employer that contributed to the unsafe working conditions that caused their injuries.