Ground crew injuries and fatalities in U.S. commercial aviation, 1983-2004

Jurek G. Grabowski, Susan P. Baker, Guohua Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Introduction: Ground crew services are an essential part of airport operations. Injury hazards to ground crewmembers who are in close proximity to aircraft have not been well studied. The objective of this paper was to examine airport ground crew injuries and fatalities involving aircraft of commuter air carriers and major airlines. Methods: Investigation reports for all ground crew injuries involving commuter and major airline aircraft that occurred at United States airports between 1983 and 2004 were obtained from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and analyzed to describe the immediate cause and pattern of injury occurrence. Results: During the 22-yr study period, the NTSB recorded a total of 80 ground crew accidents involving landing, taxiing, or standing commercial airline aircraft, yielding an overall rate of 0.47 ground crew related accidents per 1 million aircraft departures. These accidents resulted in injuries to 98 ground crewmembers, including 21 fatalities. Two-thirds of the accidents took place as the aircraft was departing. Vehicular collisions with an aircraft made up 43% of accidents, 34% were caused by moving aircraft equipment such as propellers or nose gear, and 11% resulted from jet blasts or fires. Conclusions: Intervention programs for airport ground personnel should emphasize the safe operation of the aircraft equipment and ground vehicles. Some of the injuries to ground crewmembers might be avoided through improved design of commonly used equipment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1007-1011
Number of pages5
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Aircraft
  • Airport
  • Apron
  • Occupational injury
  • Ramp
  • Safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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