British Airways has been fined £1.8 million after an employee was left seriously injured when they were crushed by a baggage tug at Heathrow Airport in March 2018.
Southwark Crown Court was told the worker was walking in the centre of a roadway used by tugs in the baggage hall underneath Heathrow’s Terminal 5 when she hit by a passing tug and then knocked under a second passing tug which was pulling dollies loaded with heavy baggage.
Investigators from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) descended on the airport and discovered that BA baggage handlers had been using the centre of the road as a walking route for at least 10-years. This “unsafe” practice was “commonplace” investigators concluded despite the obvious risks.
“The investigation also identified significant failings in the general management of health and safety and workplace transport risks, including issues relating to supervision and monitoring, risk assessment and training,” the Health and Safety Executive said.
HSE inspector Megan Carr said BA had “failed to appreciate the serious nature of the risks to which its employees were exposed and as a result failed to take appropriate action to ensure they were properly protected.”
“The situation in the baggage hall at Heathrow Terminal 5 was an incident waiting to happen.”
British Airways pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £1.8 million. The airline was also ordered to pay £35,724.
In a statement, a spokesperson for British Airways said: “The safety of our colleagues and crew is always our priority and we deeply regret that this incident was able to occur, despite the measures we had in place.
“We’ve been working hard to learn from this experience and implement further improvements to our safety procedures.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.