Aircraft manufacturing comprises of the assembly of are six main sub assemblies: fuselage, tail, wings,landing gear assembly, power plant and flight control systems. The materials used include aluminum sheet, billet, castings. Composites such as carbon epoxies, graphite, fiberglass, carbon fiber reinforced plastics, titanium, stainless steel and magnesium castings.
Like other manufacturing process aircraft manufacturing has various health implications:
- Heated materials from heat-treated metals, welded surfaces, boiling rinses can lead to burns, keloid formation, and pigmentation changes.
- Working in confined spaces in the aircraft’s fuel cells and wings can bring about oxygen deprivation, which can eventually lead to entrapment, narcosis and anxiety.
- Lifting and carrying of heavy hand tools predisposes the employees to excess fatigue, musculoskeletal injuries, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
The sharp objects used in the assembling process for instance, knives, drill bits, router and saw blade can accidentally cause lacerations, and puncture wounds. Moving machinery in the factory may cause crushing injuries resulting in amputations
Airborne fragments produced from drilling and sawing during the assembly can easily enter the eye causing corneal abrasions. Particulate matter from the factories is strongly associated with a wide range of symptoms such as coughs, colds, phlegm, chest pain bronchitis,sinusitis, emphysema and loss of lung efficiency.
Noise is not just annoyance. It damages health, detracts significantly from the quality of life. It can ultimately lead to hearing impairment, interference with communication and speech perception and sleep disturbance.
Recent research shows that there is no clear evidence that occupational exposures at the aircraft manufacturing factory results in increases in the risk of death from cancer or other disease the prevalence of cancer among aircraft manufacturing workers is generally at or below expected levels.
Airplane manufacturing thereby requires one to have the right protective gears, without which the employees can experiences serious negative health effects.