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Sea-Tac airport worker complaints spark state investigation

State inspectors have opened an investigation after more than 50 workers at Sea-Tac International Airport filed complaints over working conditions.

The complaints come from a wide range of ground-crew workers – people who operate refueling trucks, people who clean airplanes, people who push passengers around by wheelchair. Some say they’ve had to clean up blood and vomit without proper training or protection like gloves. Others say they have to work with inadequate equipment, like nozzles that leak jet fuel and trucks with faulty brakes.

Leon Sams refuels airplanes for ASIG - Aircraft Service International Group. He says sometimes pressure inside the fueling carts spikes to unsafe levels.

"A lot of my coworkers are scared to come forward with complaints because they’re scared something will happen in retaliation," Sams said. "But at this point, I’ve realized that it’s really not worth working at this job if I’m so scared to stand up for myself if I have to deal with unsafe working conditions."

ASIG is one of two companies the Washington Department of Labor and Industries began inspecting earlier this week. ASIG officials didn’t get back to me in time for this broadcast.

The other company is a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines – Delta Global Services. A Delta spokeswoman said in a statement that their employees complete an extensive training following all federal safety guidelines and the company is working with OSHA to resolve the employee issues.