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March 25, 2013

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Network Rail fined 10 years after fatal incident

Network Rail and a railway maintenance firm have been ordered to pay almost £500,000 in fines and costs between them in relation to a fatal incident.

On 30 September 2003, employees of GT Railway Maintenance Ltd (trading as Carillion Rail) were carrying out routine maintenance on a rail-engineering machine owned by Network Rail. An electrical fault caused part of the machine to move while one of the workers, Liam Robinson, was inside. He was trapped by the moving parts and subsequently died from crush injuries.

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) investigated the incident and found there wasn’t an adequate risk assessment in place. The machinery had insufficient guardrails and workers were allowed to keep the engine running while maintenance was undertaken, which significantly increased the risk of injury.

ORR principal inspector of railways Darren Anderson said: “My thoughts today are with the family of Liam Robinson, and all those affected by this tragic incident. His entirely avoidable death was caused by Network Rail and GT Railway Maintenance’s lack of adequate safety precautions when accessing dangerous parts of this machinery. The sentence passed today by the court clearly demonstrates the seriousness of their offences.”

Network Rail appeared at Stafford Crown Court on 22 March and was found guilty of breaching s3(1) of the HSWA 1974, and reg.11 of PUWER 1998 following a three-week trial. It was fined a total of £200,000 and ordered to pay £140,000 in costs.

GT Railway Maintenance Ltd appeared at an earlier hearing on 5 December 2012 and pleaded guilty to breaching s2(1) of the HSWA 1974, and reg.11 of PUWER 1998. It was fined £118,125 and ordered to pay £40,000 in costs.

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10 years ago

No doubt the prosecution was well placed however where is the public interest 10 years after the event bearing in mind the enforcing authorities would have been involved from day 1 post incident?
The enforcing authorities whether it be the ORR, HSE etc have no justification for delaying a prosecution for this length of time. Its high time the Courts considered this going forward and should criticise the various agencies involved, perhaps impacting upon their cost recovery ability.

10 years ago

Bang on John. An apalling amount of time before court proceedings. I really feel for the families who have suffered such loss, to have to go through all this before they can implemnet closure.

Something must be done!

10 years ago

Can someone please explain in simple terms why a case like this takes nine and a half years before getting to court?

7 years ago

Tim, its probably got a lot to do with the ORR and the competence of its Principal Inspector