British Midlands Airways Ltd (BMI)

The client

bmi (British Midlands Airways Limited) is the second-largest UK airline at London Heathrow, operating services in the UK and to Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. From Manchester, they operate transatlantic flights to the USA and the Caribbean. bmi’s global reach is further extended by being a member of Star Alliance, a grouping of 21 international airlines offering customers a worldwide network and a smooth, integrated travel experience.

The challenge

Manual handling injuries were the largest lost time accident risk at bmi. Over 4,500 staff in the UK are involved in manual handling work at different operational levels (check-in, cabin crew, engineering). bmi places a high value on the wellbeing of its workforce and aims to provide a safe and productive working environment.

The right approach to Manual Handling Risk Assessments and Manual Handling Training was critical. The required strategy had to be site and task-specific, incorporating bmi systems, processes and procedures, as well as the HSE Manual Handling Assessment Chart (MAC) Tool. Trainers had to be competent in Manual Handling training and Manual Handling risk assessments.

The solution

Santia’s experienced Manual Handling Consultant visited both sites to understand the variety of manual handling activities bmi staff are typically involved in, tailoring the course to include examples of these, using bmi’s risk assessments, photos, videos and case studies. A four-day tailored ‘Train the Trainer’ and Manual Handling Risk Assessor course was delivered to employees at bmi’s training centre in Heathrow and at their East Midlands engineering facility. Delegates participated in a practical session undertaking risk assessment of the same activities away from the classroom environment and ‘at the coalface’.

The results

Our work helped bmi to achieve compliance with Manual Handling Operations Regulations, avoiding risks of failures, costs and fines. Staff were trained to understand civil and criminal liabilities in relation to manual handling, learning to carry out risk assessments and make appropriate recommendations to reduce the risks identified.

We delivered a course that ensured employees from a variety of departments, including engineering and cabin crew, were equipped with the skills to train team members about safe manual handling, meaning that the training and knowledge was passed on through the organisation, benefiting all. Within a year of staff completing Santia’s course, manual handling injuries were reduced from the first to the fourth most common cause of accident and lost working time.

We helped bmi to achieve their objective of reducing instances of manual handling injury, demonstrating the value bmi places on safeguarding its workforce. bmi and Santia Training Services have now worked together for several years. Santia has been responsible for bmi’s noise and fume monitoring and bmi piloted Santia’s e-learning course for IOSH Managing Safely.


“The financial benefits to bmi far outweigh the cost of the training. The huge reduction in Manual Handling accidents and Manual Handling lost time was due to the excellent partnership between bmi and Santia, who produced a superb training package that was site and client specific for each sector of the business. The extensive practical content of each course enabled all attendees to really grasp the safety principles and procedures of manual handling and 
pass this on to their colleagues.” 
Keith Merrie (bmi’s Health & Safety Risk Manager)

Back to case studies