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Working Conditions at JFK and LaGuardia Airports Unsafe, Report Says

Major airports' employees express concern over health regulations.
Amid Ebola worries, major airports' employees express concern over health regulations.

A recently-released report from an occupational safety watchdog has said that working conditions at New York's airports may be hazardous to employees' health.

The primary airports under discussion are LaGuardia and JFK, which together employ more than 8.600 workers through third-party contractors. 

JFK employee Shareeka Elliot has worked at the airport for a yeah and a half as a terminal cleaner, and said that dealing with unpleasant substances is a pretty normal part of her job. However, she worries that her supplies, like her ill-fitting gloves, might be putting her at risk. 

"There's blood, there's vomit...they say we run the risk of picking up, you know, Hepatitis B, AIDS," Elliot said. 

A report from the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health said workers also deal with unlabeled chemical cleaners, close proximity to diesel emissions, extreme temperatures, and dangerously loud noises. Executive Director Charlene Obermauer adds that the problem may not be limited to airport employees. 

"These are workers' problems, but they can potentially be problems for passengers and members of the general public who frequent airports in New York City," Obermauer said. "The Ebola issue heightened the concerns, but those concerns have always been there."

Employees have repeatedly tried to unionize to improve working conditions in the past two years.