The parents of a man killed in August at Charlotte International Airport in a luggage cart accident has initiated a lawsuit against American Airlines.
The death of Kendrick Hudson dates back to August 2nd, 2019, when the ground worker swerved to avoid a piece of luggage which was on the tarmac and his vehicle rolled over it. The lawsuit was filed recently, after the subsidiary of American Airlines responsible for the ground worker, Piedmont Airlines, was in January 2020 found guilty of different violations by an inspection conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States.
During the inspection, the OSHA cited the following infringements:
- Failure of Piedmont Airlines employees to wear seatbelts
- Failure to re-evaluate tug operators every three years
- Failure to inspect tugs at the end of each shift
Kendrick's parents claim the fatality could have been avoided. The accident happened in an area of the Charlotte International Airport where some blame a lack of proper lighting for workers. The lawsuit, directed to American Airlines and to the city of Charlotte, claims that the city “failed to timely and reasonably inspect the adequacy of lighting of the tarmac," and that American Airlines, “failed to ensure that the areas surrounding Gate E3 and its neighboring gates were adequately lighted."
According to the studies carried out by the firm authoring the lawsuit, at least 15 workers working for commercial airlines have been killed working on US tarmacs since 2010, including five in 2019. A congressional aviation subcommittee held a hearing last week on the safety of ground workers, spotlighting a part of the airline industry where employees work in tough outdoor conditions, sometimes drive tugs without seatbelts and repetitively lift heavy bags.
While Kendrick's parents call for safer working conditions, Charlotte Douglas International Airport plans to upgrade light fixtures on its tarmac. More attention is needed on the safety of ground workers and on essential vehicle checks to prevent incidents. If you wish to assess and improve the safety of your ground team and your GSE vehicles, contact us.