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OSHA Finds Piedmont Guilty in the Preventable Death of Passenger Service Agent Courtney Edwards

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has concluded its investigation of the death of Piedmont passenger service agent and CWA Local 3645 member Courtney Edwards.

Courtney was a ground agent at Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama and a valued member of CWA Local 3645 who died in a tragic on-the-job accident on December 31, 2022. Courtney was a loving mother of three children and beloved daughter of Natalie English. Her memory lives on in the hearts of her coworkers and friends.

OSHA found that Piedmont Airlines is guilty of a serious breach of safety by not furnishing "a place of employment which was free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees that were exposed to ingestion and jet blast hazards." OSHA issued a 5(a)(1) violation, also known as a General Duty Clause violation, with an initial penalty of $15,625, the maximum allowed by law for a serious violation. OSHA also found that the lack of effective training, clear and unambiguous communication on the ramp, and clear instructions from supervisors as to when it is safe to approach an aircraft were deficiencies that contributed to Courtney Edwards's preventable death.

It is clear that the willingness of CWA members to come forward to speak to the OSHA inspectors and the work of union officers, including Local 3645 President Donielle Prophete, were essential in providing the documentation needed for this finding. Despite the small penalty, it is likely Piedmont will contest the decision, and CWA will continue to fight for Courtney Edwards, her family, and the safety of all airline workers, who should never fear for their lives on the job.