Pilot Deaths Linked to Lethal Fumes in Cockpit

Pilot Deaths Linked to Lethal Fumes in Cockpit

It was widely reported last week that two British Airways pilots have tragically passed away due to poisoning from fumes that can contaminate cabin air.

Mr Richard Westgate and his fellow pilot Karen Lysakowska had both made complaints to their bosses at BA but no action was taken. Ms Lysakowska had apparently pleaded with bosses in 2005 to address certain health and safety issues after she was grounded due to ill health according to other sources.

Incidents like this are referred to as ‘fume events’ by airline’s and their on board staff. According to official records from the Civil Aviation Authority, staff on board planes have to use oxygen masks five times a week to escape health risks.

According to one Aviation medic, Mr Westgate’s symptoms of headaches, chronic fatigue and mood swings are not uncommon as he too was a former pilot for KLM suffering with the same symptoms. He also stated that Mr Westgate did not tell his employers at the time due to fear of losing his job.

Lawyers were instructed by Mr Westgate to bring his case against BA before he passed away. One of his lawyers, Frank Cannon has said BA is liable under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Heath regulations because it fails to assess the quality of the air on board its flights.

Here at Roberts Jackson we take a firm stand against any employer breaching these regulations. Many of our respiratory disease and skin condition cases are fought with similar arguments. As we specialise in this type of legal claim, we have many similar cases including clients who have worked in the soldering industry and more commonly bakers that now suffer due to their employers exposing them to substances harmful to humans.

Solicitor and Associate at Roberts Jackson, Jennifer Corris has said ‘Sadly this type of case is becoming more and more common, particularly where the employer fails to act upon complaints from their employees and only goes to re iterate the need for employers to become familiar with their duties under the COSHH Regulations and act upon any complaints relating to their employees’ health without delay’

If you suffer with any respiratory condition that you believe is being caused by your work or a substance you work with, speak to Roberts Jackson for some free legal advice 0800 001 4496.