British Airways' firm fined thousands after worker has severe brain injury near Cardiff Airport

The Health and Safety Executive has said to incident could easily have been avoided. Credit: PA

A maintenance firm owned by British Airways has been fined £230,000 after an employee suffered a severe brain injury near Cardiff Airport.

Engineer Iain Mawson entered a three-week coma after he fell two metres while working on a Boeing 747 at a maintenance centre.

The company has pleaded guilty to a criminal health and safety offence over the accident which happened at its British Airways Maintenance Cardiff (BAMC) site in November 2019.

BAMC is a major aircraft maintenance centre which carries out heavy maintenance on all of British Airways' Boeing long-haul planes.

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said Mr Mawson, 52, was inspecting a plane's wings when he "fell through a gap in the guard-rail of the docking platform where safety barriers had been removed".

He added that Mr Mawson was placed in an induced coma for three weeks after sustaining "numerous" skull fractures and a brain haemorrhage.

He also suffered fractures to his ribs, shoulder blade, spine, and collar bone. Mr Mawson has not been able to return to work since because of the severity of the injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that BAMC had failed to "adequately analyse the risks and avoid removal of guard-rail safety barriers or ensure safety barriers were replaced".

The subsidiary of British Airways has now been sentenced at Cardiff Magistrates' Court after admitting it failed to ensure the health and safety of Mr Mawson.

The company has now been ordered to pay a fine of £230,000 and prosecution costs of £21,623.

Mr Mawson's lawyer, Lisa Gunner has said her client experienced a "severe traumatic brain injury".

She added: "Despite his positive attitude to his recovery it will have a long-term impact on both him and his family. We will continue to support Mr Mawson as he attempts to recover from this life-changing injury.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Sara Lumley said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.

"Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards."

A spokesman for British Airways has said: "Safety is always our highest priority and we deeply regret that, despite the processes we had in place, this incident was able to occur.

"We've worked hard to learn from this experience and have implemented further improvements to our safety measures and procedures."

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