Family of baggage handler who suffered brain damage is taking legal action

  • Jasbir Sahota suffered debilitating injuries after the incident in February
  • The family are now demanding that Menzies pay for specialist treatment costing around £300,000



The family of a Heathrow baggage handler who suffered brain damage after her scarf became stuck in machinery and dragged along a conveyor belt are taking legal action against her employers.

Jasbir Sahota, who has worked at the airport for 30 years, was seriously injured after the accident on February 14.

The 52-year-old was unloading luggage from a Loganair flight arriving in the capital from Dundee when the garment ended up in the machine.

The incident caused debilitating injuries and brain damage, leaving Ms Sahota requiring specialist care.

Now her family is demanding that her employer Menzies, a global aviation services company, pay for her transfer from Hillingdon Hospital to Wellington Hospital – a private facility that provides the complex care Ms Sahota needs.

Jasbir Sahota (pictured), who has worked at the airport for 30 years, was seriously injured after an accident on a conveyor belt at Heathrow on February 14.
Her family is now taking legal action against her employer Menzies (photo: her two children, Nina Haer and Harman Sahota, together with her brother-in-law Satti Heir)

Her two children, Nina Haer and Harman Sahota, along with brother-in-law Satti, told The Telegraph that the company is treating her “like a number rather than a valued employee” and that they have been forced to take legal action.

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“Jaz deserves the best care and the best treatment and this is simply not available on the NHS,” Satti said. ‘To have any chance of any improvement she must be transferred to the Wellington.

‘Every day she stays at Hillingdon – and they are doing the best they can – it’s a day we lose her and that’s devastating.’

The family said Menzies had offered to help them after the accident, but the only help they had received was from the company that paid for taxis to and from the hospital.

They added that the company had lost contact with them and now rarely contacted them.

According to Nina, no one enjoyed her work more than Ms. Sahota, whose condition also took a toll on those around her.

Financially, the cost of a transfer to Wellington would be around £300,000, which is more than her family can afford.

Meanwhile, 24-year-old Harman has been forced to take leave as a signaling engineer at Network Rail due to stress-related reasons.

The 52-year-old was unloading luggage from a Loganair flight arriving in the capital from Dundee when the garment ended up in the machine.

Nina has also had to make adjustments and has taken on a less demanding position at a recruitment company near the family home in Hayes, west London.

Founded in 1833 by John Menzies as a wholesaler and bookstall in Edinburgh, Menzies now provides cargo handling, passenger services and ground operations at airports around the world, generating $2.2 billion in revenue last year.

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Lawyers for Ms Sahota’s family have identified a number of causes which they say raise questions about Menzies’ commitment to the health and safety of its employees.

On Christmas Eve 2016, Rebecca Smith was injured when she fell through a hole in the railing on top of a baggage claim loader.

The incident occurred when the loader was struck by a moving vehicle. The Health and Safety Executive’s investigation into the incident found that the company had anticipated the risk of a collision between such vehicles but had failed to act to reduce the risk of driver error. .

Menzies, who pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, was fined £181,500 with costs of £21,043.

That case came after the company was fined £60,000 by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) following the death of Cesar Valenzuela, 51, who was thrown from a luggage cart at Los Angeles International Airport.

Mr. Valenzuela was found not to have a functioning seat belt.

Ms Sahota’s lawyers, Fieldfisher, will go to court in the coming weeks to demand the disclosure of material that could help in a possible future negligence claim.

According to Nina, no one enjoyed her job more than Ms Sahota, whose condition has also taken its toll on those around her (Photo: Heathrow Terminal 2)

A spokesperson for Menzies told MailOnline: ‘An active investigation is underway following a serious incident involving a Menzies employee at Heathrow Airport earlier this year.

‘As this is still ongoing, we cannot provide any further details at this time. Our thoughts are with our colleague and their family.’

Heathrow Airport declined to comment.

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