Over the next few months, we will be spotlighting certain federal agencies we work with in a series titled “Agency Spotlight”. Each month there will be a series of posts on specific jobs within that agency, descriptions, issues facing that agency, and how a federal worker in that agency may be injured.
The first agency spotlight will focus on the Transportation Security Administration or TSA.
The TSA is an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security. It was created after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and employs roughly 50,000 workers. These workers include inspectors, security officers, air marshals, and dog handlers. They work to secure airports, screen passengers and baggage and have authority over the security of traveling publicly in the US. While they are responsible for the security of all types of travel, the bulk of their duties is in aviation security.
The minimum requirements to work for the TSA, in general, include being a US citizen, must be 18 years or older, have a high school diploma, and pass a drug screen, medical evaluation and background check. Additional tests include computer-based tests on English and x-ray aptitude and a structured interview that assess decision making and working with teams. Depending on which career path you choose in the TSA, more job specific testing is required.
Some jobs at TSA include:
Transportation Security Officers (TSO’s)—They screen passengers, perform ticketing checks and pat-downs, and screen the metal detectors and x-rays. Also, they control entry and exit points. They carry no weapons and are not permitted to use force or arrest people. This group makes up the largest under TSA employing most of the 50,000.
Transportation Security Inspectors (TSI’s)—They inspect and investigate passenger and cargo transportation systems to check how well they are working. There are roughly 1,000 aviation inspectors, 450 cargo inspectors, and 100 surface inspectors.
Federal Air Marshals (FAM’s)—This is the law enforcement arm of the TSA. They are federal Law Enforcement Officers who work undercover to protect the airways. They do carry weapons and can use force in arrests if necessary.
National Explosives Detection Canine Teams Program—Trainers prepare dogs and handlers to serve as a mobile team that can quickly find dangerous materials on aircraft or passengers.
Issues facing the TSA
When there is a rise in terrorist activity, there is a ramp up in airport security, and rightfully so. However, there has been concern on the additional measures taken. Invasive pat-downs have drawn outcry by many because some claim it’s a violation of rights and privacy. The same can be said for the use of the newer full-body scanners. These scanners have also been scrutinized because they may emit harmful radiation. Another issue in recent years is baggage theft. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has performed undercover tests to determine the effectiveness of the screening required at airports.
Working for the TSA poses many threats to your health. TSA agents are expected to lift baggage that could weigh as much as 70 pounds. This could easily cause an injury to a bone or muscle. Moreover, that injury could be serious enough that it ends your career, meaning you may be eligible for Federal Disability Retirement. FAM’s are at a higher risk of facing criminals and as a result may be injured in the line of duty. Again, this may cause an injury that makes them unable to perform their essential job duties.
Along with the above, there are many other ways an employee of the TSA could be injured while employed. If you, or someone you know, is in this situation, we can help! Harris Federal Law Firm has been helping federal workers for more than a decade with their Federal Disability Retirement cases. Call us at 877-226-2723 or fill out this inquiry form to find out how we can help you.