The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced that Delta Air Lines Inc. signed a corporate-wide settlement agreement with the agency to install seat belts and implement seat belt policies on baggage handling vehicles as part of a compliance plan over the next two years at approximately ninety of its domestic airport locations that fall under federal OSHA’s jurisdiction. The company plans to take the same safety measures at airport locations under state OSHA’s jurisdiction, although not part of the agreement.

The agreement resulted as abatement of alleged violations in the death of a Delta baggage handler in January 2010. The worker suffered a fatal traumatic brain injury when the tug vehicle he operated collided with a food service truck and the impact ejected him out of the vehicle and onto the pavement. OSHA issued a citation to Delta for violating federal regulations requiring employers to provide employees with personal protective equipment, including – in this case – seat belts.

Compliance measures in the plan include:

  • Installing seat belts on all covered vehicles within the first twelve months;
  • Any new covered vehicles the company purchases must come equipped with seat belts;
  • Implement and enforce a program requiring its employees to wear seat belts when operating or riding on any Covered Vehicle;
  • Conduct mandatory employee training on seat belt use and safe operation of covered vehicles;
  • Track and enforce seat belt use through documented observations; conducting random audits of compliance; and periodically setting up checkpoints at Covered Routes to assess seat belt use;
  • Inspect covered vehicles for property functioning seat belts and remove any vehicle from use if they find the seat belt missing or malfunctioning.

When completed, the compliance plan will help protect 16,000 Delta workers from injuries preventable by seat belt use.

“OSHA’s corporate-wide settlement agreements are highly effective tools for ensuring that companies address hazards that can injure or kill their workers,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels in a release. “This kind of widespread change within corporations can go a long way toward keeping workers across the country safe and healthy at the end of every workday.”

OSHA has resources available to assist the airline industry in workplace safety and compliance.

To view the agreement on the settlement, go to