Aircraft company fined £160,000 after workers fell from the tail of a plane

An employee of Inflite Engineering Services and an agency worker suffered broken bones after the fall at Stansted Airport in June 2015. They were working either side of the tail using mobile elevated work platforms when another employee closed the wrong circuit breaker, inadvertently opening the plane’s airbrake, which knocked over both platforms.

The men fell between 10 and 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 a bone on his spine. The HSE investigation found that no suitable risk assessment was in place and there was a lack of effective monitoring.

Inflite Engineering Limited, 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 and ordered to pay costs of £5,492.90.

Speaking after the case, HSE Inspector Tania van Rixtel said, “Both of these men suffered shocking injuries after falling from height, which could easily have been a double fatality. 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.”

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