In 2011, Alaska Airlines rolled out new uniforms made by Twin Hill. Shortly after, 10% of Alaska Airlines’ flight attendants reported itching, hives, rashes, hair loss, and other health reactions to the uniform. Later in 2012, flight attendants filed a class action lawsuit against Twin Hill, for including a dye, Disperse Orange 37/76, in the uniform. The dye had been banned from use in clothing, because it is a known skin and respiratory irritant.
Today, Twin Hill announced that they won the suit filed by 164 Alaska Airlines flight attendant. After a multi-day trial, the court rejected all of the flight attendants’ claims. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted an evaluation of Twin Hill’s uniforms, and concluded that there was no reliable evidence that the Twin Hill uniforms were capable of causing such injuries.
Interestingly, a few weeks ago, American Airlines flight attendants also claimed that their new uniforms caused rashes and hives. The airline provided polyester alternatives for those with a wool allergy, and also addressed other problems that flight attendants brought up.
With such a huge roll out, there are bound to be a few problems. I am sympathetic to flight attendants that might be affected by new uniforms, since they have to wear it everyday at work. Though I also tend to believe that companies are careful when planning a drastic change like this, and I am glad to see they are working on solutions.
Time will tell if American Airlines flight attendants can work toward a solution with Twin Hill, or if they have to resort to measures like Alaska Airlines flight attendants did!