Rail worker in fatal fall during overhead line repairs

Grant Prior 5 years ago
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Network Rail has been fined £125,000 following the death of a track maintenance worker.

Malcolm Slater was part of a team repairing damaged overhead lines at Margaretting, near Chelmsford in Essex in June 2008.

The gang were working at a height of approximately 15 feet on a mobile elevated platform attached to a vehicle, when the platform became detached and fell to the ground.

All three occupants of the platform sustained injuries in the fall including fractured bones and bruising. Slater suffered far more serious injuries and tragically died on 1 July 2008.

An extensive Office of Rail Regulation investigation into the incident found that Network Rail had failed in its duty to provide suitable work equipment for its employees and failed to properly plan the repair work.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard that Network Rail had not provided its staff with training on working within the platform and did not identify that the overload alarm had been switched off despite evidence showing the platform weight limit of 350kg had been significantly exceeded on a regular basis.

Ian Prosser, ORR’s Director of Railway Safety, said: “While Network Rail has significantly increased its focus on worker safety, there remain too many occasions where a lack of appropriate training, poor management or inadequate planning leads to a catastrophic event.

“ORR inspectors are closely monitoring how Network Rail manages worker safety and will always step in or take action if failings are found.”

Network Rail pleaded guilty to the safety charge and was also ordered to pat £85,000 in costs.

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