During sentencing, District Judge Baraitser said Airworld Airlines’s lifting operation was a “dangerous practice [that] presented a significant risk” to workers.
She fined the company £82,000 and ordered it to pay £6,575 costs after it pleaded guilty to breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told that, on 26 January 2018, a warehouse cargo agent was using a forklift truck to offload a freight container from a heavy goods vehicle at the site at the Hatton Cross Centre.
The container became unstable and toppled on to him, pinning him against a concrete pedestrian barrier. He sustained serious injuries, including multiple fractures and internal injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Airworld Airlines did not have a safe system of work in place to identify the risk of freight containers falling from forklift truck forks.
It also found the company had altered the forks to enable employees to lift aircraft containers from the floor without any stabilisation mechanism.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Sarah Pearce said: “Employers have a responsibility to devise safe methods of carrying out lifting operations and should ensure that every lifting operation is properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner.”