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November 1, 2013

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Airport fined following death of pensioner


Luton Airport and a design subcontractor have been ordered to pay a total of £372,595 in fines and costs after an elderly woman was killed on a poorly-sited pedestrian crossing.
Mary Whiting, 78, from Taverham, Norfolk, was hit by a 26-tonne milk lorry as she used a crossing between a terminal building and a passenger drop-off zone at the airport on 16 May 2009.
It is understood that she believed the delivery vehicle was stationery, but as she went to cross the road, it pulled away and struck her.
During a six-week trial, Luton Crown Court heard that London Luton Airport Operations Limited (LLAOL) was responsible for maintaining the roads, parking enforcement and signage at the airport, including the land in question.
The crossing, which was part of a wider building project, was opened in March 2009 by London-based C-T Aviation Solutions Ltd (C-TAS). 
An HSE investigation into the incident found that the crossing, designed by C-TAS and located on private land leased by the operators of Luton Airport, was badly positioned and did not conform to regulations that apply to public roads.
LLAOL was served with an improvement notice on 17 July 2009, following Mrs Whiting’s death, which required changes relating to the safety of pedestrians and vehicles. Modifications were subsequently made.
London Luton Airport Operations Ltd of TBI House, Frank Lester Way, Luton, was fined a total of £75,000 and ordered to pay costs of £197,595 after being found guilty of breaching sections 3(1) and 21 of the HSWA 1974, and Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Design subcontractor C-T Aviation solutions Ltd, of Glentham Road, Barnes, London was fined £70,000 with costs of £30,000 after being found guilty of breaching section 3(1) of the HSWA 1974 and Regulation 11 of the CDM Regulations 2007.
Following the sentencing, HSE inspector Graham Tompkins, said: “London Luton Airport Operations Ltd failed to take the proper steps to ensure the safety of vehicles and their passengers at the airport. Although the judge ruled that the design of the road was not a significant cause of Mary Whiting’s death, it did create a serious risk and the sentence imposed reflects the gravity of the offence.”
The driver of the milk lorry that crushed Mrs Whiting was separately acquitted of dangerous driving in September 2010.

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