Two employees suffered serious injuries when they were knocked off of the elevated platforms they were using to conduct service checks on the tail of an airplane.
Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard the case of the employees – an employee of Inflite Engineering Services and a worker from a temporary agency – who suffered broken bones after the fall at Stansted Airport on June 10, 2015.
They were working from mobile elevated work platforms on either side of the tail when another employee closed the wrong circuit breaker, inadvertently opening the plane’s airbrake, which knocked over both platforms.
The men fell between 10 to 15 feet. One employee, a 62-year-old man, suffered three fractures to his pelvis, a broken back, three broken ribs, a fractured elbow and a punctured right lung. The second man, 60, suffered a broken wrist and a chipped bone on his spine.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that no suitable risk assessment was in place and there was a lack of effective monitoring.
On March 15, Inflite Engineering Ltd., based a Stansted Airport, pleaded guilty to breaches under Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £160,000 (US$200,080) and ordered to pay costs of £5,492.90. HSE is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety.
“Both of these men suffered shocking injuries after falling from height, which could easily have been a double fatality,” said HSE Inspector Tania van Rixtel, speaking at the conclusion of the case. “Our investigation found the incident could have been avoided had adequate monitoring been taking place. Aircraft maintenance companies are reminded that not all risks are covered by the Aircraft Maintenance Manual and additional measures need to be introduced.”