Health & safety | Delta Air Lines to ditch 'toxic' work uniforms

Delta Air Lines to ditch 'toxic' work uniforms

Delta Air Lines has shared plans to launch a new uniform program for its flight attendants and some airport customer staff, following several complaints that the previous uniforms have caused serious medical issues.

According to the Daily Mail, hundreds of employees from the airline have sued the uniform maker, Lands’ End, stating that the clothing was ‘toxic’.

In fact, the lawsuits revealed that the chemicals and finishes used to create the high-stretch, wrinkle and stain-resistant, waterproof, anti-static and deodorising fabrics led to staff members experiencing health problems.

These included breathing difficulties, skin rashes and other medical issues.

In a statement, the uniform manufacturer, said: “We value our partnership with Delta and are pleased to continue to work with them to supply safe, innovative uniforms that meet their program needs.”

It added that each uniform it supplies ‘undergoes rigorous testing at independent labs to ensure that the garments meet or exceed the strictest global standards’.

Delta has since revealed that new uniforms going forward will carry the ‘OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100’ label, which is the highest standard in the textile industry for chemical testing.

The airline revealed that it hopes to launch new uniforms in late 2021 and said in the interim, employees will be offered new uniform choices, as well as alternate options that are currently allowed.

Ekrem Dimbiloglu, Director of Delta's New Uniform Program, said in a statement: “At Delta, our people are the foundation for our success. In response to our employees, we've taken steps over the past few months to address feedback received about the uniform, including offering alternative garments, hiring fabric experts, and conducting comprehensive chemical testing.

“This is a big decision, but we side with our people, and we are making a change,” Dimbiloglu added.

Health and safety at work

When it comes to the health and safety of employees, all employers are legally bound to ensure that staff are not exposed to reasonable harm at work, both physical and psychological, Peninsula Group reported. Therefore, Delta Air Line’s decision to acknowledge its staff’s grievances and concerns over the uniform by putting in place changes is a practical start to better employee’s health and safety at work.  

Image credit: 2020 Delta Air Lines, Inc

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