Service Rating: Damian McCarthy 5 starts - Service Rate

A passenger air transport firm has been fined after a worker suffered brain damage when she was crushed by hangar doors at Luton Airport.

Signature Flight Support operates a worldwide network of ‘fixed base operations’, delivering support to business and private aviation at more than 200 locations. The services provided include refuelling, hangar storage, maintenance, repair and overhaul.

Suzi Dorbon was employed as an aircraft mover by Signature Flight Support London Luton Limited. She was working on her own, opening the mechanically operated doors of Hangar 219 at Luton Airport in order to move aircraft inside. Each door was made up of three very large sections which could be moved along tracks and were operated using a handheld control panel. On moving one of the doors, she became trapped and suffered crushing injuries that resulted in severe brain damage. She remains in a persistent vegetative state and will require 24-hour care for the rest of her life.

An investigation into the incident was carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). This found that the company had failed to carry out adequate planning or provide adequate training, written instructions or supervision for the task. The company’s formal risk assessment document did not identify the potential risk of someone becoming trapped in the doors.

Signature Flight Support London Luton Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It has been fined £250,000 and ordered to pay costs of £19,483.50.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew McGill said, “The injured person’s family have been left devastated after this incident. Her husband gave up work to care for her daily and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Employers must provide suitable systems of work, training, information and supervision to ensure safety. If a safe system of work had been in place prior to this incident, it could have prevented the life-changing injuries sustained by the employee.”

The HSE provides general guidance and tools to help businesses assess and control risks in the workplace. See http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/ for further information




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