Luton Airport and a design subcontractor have been ordered to pay £372,595 of fines for safety failings after an elderly passenger was killed on a poorly sited pedestrian crossing.
Mary Whiting, 78, from Norfolk, was crushed beneath the wheels of a 26 tonne milk lorry as she used a crossing between a terminal building and a passenger drop-off zone at the airport in May 2009.
The returning holidaymaker believed the delivery vehicle was stationary, but it pulled away as she went to cross the approach road and struck her.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the crossing, designed by C-T Aviation Solutions Limited (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.
Speaking after the sentencing, HSE Inspector Graham Tompkins said: “This tragic incident could easily have been avoided had London Luton Airport Operations Limited taken the proper steps to ensure the safety of vehicles and their passengers at the airport.
“Had they provided a crossing that was safe to use, then Mary Whiting would still be with her family today. The C-TAS Ltd design simply did not meet the required standards.”
Luton Crown Court heard during a six-week trial in April and May this year 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, part of a wider building project, was opened in March 2009 by London-based C-T Aviation Solutions Limited.
The jury was told it did not meet the standards that apply to public roads and that the positioning of the crossing had a direct impact on the fatal incident.
LLAOL was served with an Improvement Notice on July 17 2009 following Mrs Whiting’s death requiring changes relating to the safety of pedestrians and vehicles. Modifications were subsequently made.
London Luton Airport Operations Limited (LLAOL), of TBI House, Frank Lester Way, Luton, was fined a total of £75,000 and ordered to pay £197,595 in costs after being found guilty of breaching Sections 3(1) and 21 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Design subcontractor C-T Aviation Solutions Limited, of Glentham Road, Barnes, London was fined £70,000 with £30,000 in costs after being found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 11 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
The driver of the milk lorry that crushed Mrs Whiting was separately acquitted of dangerous driving in September 2010.