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February 7, 2020

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In court

£100k fine for Flybe after worker falls into lift shaft

Flybe Ltd has been fined following an investigation into an incident in which a worker fell into a lift shaft at Exeter Airport.

FlybeOn 15 May 2016, a 34-year-old employee was moving a loaded lift trolley in the tool department of Hanger 2 when he fell to the bottom of the lift shaft and suffered injuries.

Although the exact cause of the incident could not be established, the HSE investigation found that the lift doors had a fault which meant that they defaulted to locked. As a result, the emergency door release key was being routinely used by employees to bypass the fault and therefore the lift’s safety devices.

Flybe Ltd of New Walker Hanger, Exeter Airport pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £100,000 with costs of £9,963.16.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Emma O’Hara said: “Despite a fault, busy workers who were moving parts and tools felt compelled to keep the lift in use. The safety features of the lift were therefore made redundant.

“The lift should have been taken out of service or an alternative system of work should have been in place, and this should have been communicated.”

In 2018, an inquiry heard how a Flybe plane dropped 500ft in 18 seconds shortly after take-off from Belfast, due to the pilot selecting the wrong autopilot setting.

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