State fines Alaska Airlines and contractors for violations

by: Jeff Dubois Updated:

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries has fined Alaska Airlines and some of its sub-contractors for numerous workplace health and safety violations.

The sub-contractors cited also service many of the other airlines that fly out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The labor rights group Working Washington outlined some of the violations at a news conference Friday morning.

The majority of the violations came from complaints made by workers that clean or fuel planes between flights.

"Airport workers have gone, repeatedly to their employers and Alaska Airlines contractors about being exposed to serious and unsafe working conditions," said Genevieve Aguilar, an advocate for the workers.

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries recently found 21 serious violations in all.

In some cases, jet fuelers weren't given proper equipment to protect their skin from leaks or splashes of fuel.

And cabin cleaners didn't have gloves to clean the bathroom garbage, so they had to insert their hands and arms into the chute to push waste through.

According to the Department of Labor and Industries, workers could encounter leaking used diapers, discarded syringes, and blood in the garbage bins.

This is the second time in three months the state has fined the airline sub-contractors for safety violations.

Here is a written response from Alaska Airlines:

"Alaska Airlines has an uncompromising commitment to safety and compliance. We put the safety of our passengers, our employees and our aircraft above all else. We immediately responded to this state inquiry and have revised our policies accordingly. Each of the Sea-Tac contractors cited responded promptly and have already addressed the majority of concerns raised by the Washington Department of Labor & Industries."