United settles suit over baggage handlers' stress injuries

IndustrialsAssociated Press

United Airlines has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor over the working conditions for baggage handlers at Newark Liberty International Airport.

A lawsuit was filed after inspectors found baggage handlers too often were forced to lift heavy bags or perform other functions while leaning over, twisting or reaching overhead.

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The Labor Department says United baggage handlers reported more than 600 musculoskeletal injuries between 2011 and early 2015.

As part of the settlement announced Tuesday, United has agreed to install conveyor belts on jet bridges so handlers won't have to manually lift and lower gate-checked passenger luggage.

The airline also will retain an expert on repetitive stress injuries to evaluate injury risks.

A spokesman for Chicago, Illinois-based United didn't immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday.