Prosecutions

BA fined £1.8 million for ‘accident waiting to happen’

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British Airways (BA) has been fined £1.8 million after an employee was seriously injured in an incident in the baggage hall at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5.


On 16 March 2018, an employee was struck by a vehicle (tug) used to transport baggage around the airport.

She was knocked under another passing tug loaded with luggage, sustaining serious crush injuries.

An investigation by HSE found that the injured worker had been using the centre of the roadway between the two lanes as a walking route and this unsafe practice had been commonplace in the baggage hall for at least ten years.

Incident photo at Heathrow Terminal 5. Photograph: HSE

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.

British Airways PLC of Waterside, Harmondsworth, Greater London pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £1.8 million and ordered to pay costs of £35,724.

Speaking after the hearing at Southwark Crown Court, investigating HSE inspector Megan Carr said: “The situation in the baggage hall at Heathrow Terminal 5 was an incident waiting to happen.

“British Airways 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.”

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