The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

The Fall Guys - Aircraft Firm Gets Fall Failure Fines

12 December 2014 | Updated 01 January 1970

An aircraft maintenance company has been sentenced for safety failures after three workers were injured in separate falls at its airfield in Lasham – two in the same month. The first incident at ATC (Lasham), which has an international client base, saw an employee fall 5m from an aircraft door to the runway tarmac while repairing a faulty door. His injuries were at first thought to be life threatening.

Less than three weeks later, a contractor, broke a knee after falling 3m when a weld gave way on a scissor lift. Finally, another employee fell from an aircraft stand that had no guardrail between the aircraft and the stand steps, fracturing a thumb in three places.

The incidents, on 9 and 27 July, and 30 November 2011 respectively, were investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted ATC (Lasham) for three safety breaches at Salisbury Crown Court.

The court was told the first worker, then 60, from Alton in Hampshire, had been helping to fix an aircraft door fault that had been detected during crew safety checks. During the repair, the door was opened by the worker and it flew out under pressure. As he was holding on to the door, he was pulled out of the plane and plunged 5m to the ground as there were no safeguards in place to prevent him falling. He suffered a broken right thigh and ankle and needed rods and pins inserting to help him recover. He has since been able to return to work.

Later the same month, a contractor, 48, from Wootton Bassett, Swindon, fell as he attempted to climb down from inside a Boeing 757 wing fuel tank. He was standing on a scissor lift when a weld in the lift gave way, sending him falling to the ground below.

The final of the injured three, an employee then aged 67, from Ascot, Berkshire, sustained a multiple fracture to his thumb as he fell from an unprotected part of an aircraft platform.

The court heard HSE identified that, in all three incidents, ATC had failed to provide safe plant and system of work for the three men. There was a lack of safe procedures for working at height, provision of unsuitable and unmaintained equipment, and general poor management. After the incidents, HSE had served a number of prohibition notices halting certain areas of work and improvement notices requiring better working practices.

ATC (Lasham) was fined a total of £35,000 and ordered to pay £32,430 in costs after admitting three breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

“Three workers have suffered painful injuries owing to inadequate safe systems of work employed by ATC (Lasham) which is particularly disappointing given it is a major company working in a particularly safety-critical sector,” explained Kelly Nichols, HSE Inspector, after the hearing. “The company’s management of health and safety was extremely poor in many areas but particularly in their approach to working at height.”

HSE pointed out that the three falls had occurred in a relatively short period and these could have resulted in even more serious injuries. “Working at height needs careful planning and organisation, and part of that is selecting and using the right type of equipment, which is properly maintained and safe,” concluded Kelly Nichols.


Pictured: The plane and the door above the forklift where the first fall took place

Article written by Mike Gannon | Published 12 December 2014


Related Tags

Related Articles

Sheriff Court Goes Further With Shell

The early days of August have already seen four companies receive substantial H&S fines. Shell received the biggest of these when a cylinder and valve becoming...

 Read Full Article
Fall Due to Instructor ‘Not Competent’

Essex County Council has been fined after a novice climber plunged 7.5.m from an indoor rock face at a climbing centre in Harlow. The 15 year-old girl, from Ware was...

 Read Full Article
Online Heat Pump Seller Prosecuted for Breaching F-Gas Regulations

An online retailer has been fined for selling HVAC equipment without ensuring that it would be installed by a properly qualified engineer. Appliances Direct (AD) was...

 Read Full Article
Hazards in England’s Homes Cost NHS £401m Per Year

Research from the Building Research Establishment shows that hazards which cause occupants to fall and injure themselves in the poorest quality homes in England are...

 Read Full Article
Interserve Fined ÂŁ4.4m for Failure to Keep Staff Details Secure

The UK’s IT security watchdog has fined Interserve for breaching data protection law and failing to prevent a cyber attack. The Information Commissioner’s...

 Read Full Article
TfL Fines Thames Water for Unsafe Streetworks

Thames Water has been fined £100,000 for four safety streetworks related offences committed on the Transport for London Road...

 Read Full Article
Million Pound Fine for Breaching F-Gas Regulations Handed to London Firm

London-based firm IMO Gas Supplies Ltd has been found guilty of seven separate offences all linked to breaches of regulation 31A of the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases...

 Read Full Article
Health and Safety Breach Fines 142% Higher Than Compliance Costs

SMEs that defy health and safety regulations could face a fine 142 per cent higher than the yearly cost of complying with the measures. Analysts at health and...

 Read Full Article
Airline Company Guilty For Unsafe Operation of Passenger Lift

Flybe, the airline company, was sentenced on 4 February 2020 for the unsafe operation of a passenger lift. Meanwhile, a number of other firms have found themselves...

 Read Full Article
Newnham College Cambridge Lands Asbestos Failings Fine

Newnham College Cambridge has been fined for failings that exposed employees and subcontractors to asbestos during refurbishment of a flat owned by the...

 Read Full Article