Airport security worker compensated after assault16 March 2010
Attacked at Work
A PCS member who was attacked while helping keep passengers safe at Heathrow Airport has received an undisclosed sum in compensation.
Margaret Needs, 57 from Ruislip in Middlesex was working as a security supervisor for BAA when she was attacked in 2006.
Whilst supervising passengers as they went through security to departures a customer became angry when her liquid makeup was confiscated under international travel safety rules.
The passenger attacked Mrs Needs’ colleague and when she stepped in to try and help her fellow worker the passenger punched her in the face and tried to strangle her.
Mrs Needs had to take 10 days off work and needed extensive counselling after the incident. She eventually felt forced to leave her job in January 2007. She still finds it difficult to be in enclosed spaces when she is surrounded by unknown people.
Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation
Following the accident Mrs Needs, who has worked for BAA for 17 years, decided to contact her union which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.
Thompsons was successful in settling the claim after BAA admitted liability.
Mrs Needs said: “I was given no training in how to deal with aggressive passengers despite the increased passenger tension caused by heightened anti terrorist security.
“My nerves have been destroyed by this attack. Even after six months of counseling I am still anxious in enclosed places and among people I don’t know.”
Paul Smith, PCS negotiations officer for BAA said: “Airport security staff have to deal with highly charged situations whilst maintaining the security standards expected by the public.
“People are naturally fraught at airports and staff should be trained to help them handle hostile members of the public not only to ensure their own safety but the safety of the thousands of passengers they deal with every day.”
Anita Rattan from Thompsons Solicitors added: “BAA failed to provide Mrs Needs or her colleagues with either personal protective equipment or training. BAA could have foreseen the risks involved for its staff and their admitting liability in this case shows that.”
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