Network Rail regulation and performance

14.05.18

NR found guilty of safety failure after signaller breaks neck

Network Rail has been found guilty of an offence under the Health and Safety Work Act following a level crossing accident.

Signaller, Douglas Caddell, suffered life-changing injuries after he was struck by a car as he tried to close the level crossing gate at East Farleigh, Kent, on 24 April 2015.

CCTV footage shows Caddell pushing the level crossing gate when it was hit by a vehicle, which caused it to bounce back, knocking the signaller to the ground and reportedly resulting in a broken neck.

Colleagues of Caddell told the court that there were frequent incidents of cars swerving across the rail tracks as signallers tried to close the gates and that Caddell had reported a different near miss with a different vehicle to the British Transport Police on the day of the incident.

Following the incident, an investigation by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) revealed that Network Rail’s assessment, consisted of a 30 minute census of traffic use and a conversation with a signaller, incorrectly assessed the risk of deliberate misuse of the crossing as being “significantly lower than average” and did not constitute a suitable or sufficient risk assessment.

The ORR also determined that the risk of a driver failing to see that the gates were being closed was “foreseeable” and that Network Rail had done “little or nothing to protect its employees” despite the clear risk.

Ian Prosser, HM chief inspector of railways, said: “We are absolutely committed to protecting the health and safety of passengers and railway staff and will not hesitate to take enforcement action or press prosecutions when necessary.

“Mr Caddell suffered life-changing injuries in this incident and the court’s verdict indicates how seriously the offence is viewed.”

He added: “We are pleased that Network Rail has taken safety measures, including installing warning lights, at East Farleigh and we would expect to see proper risk assessments made at the many similar level crossings across the country and necessary safety measures taken.”

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We accept this verdict and we have taken action to put in place suitable risk assessments.

“We also recognise that the incident which led to this investigation had a serious effect on the health and wellbeing of our signaller, who continues to be a valued member of our team. Separate to this case, we are already working to replace the manual crossing gates at East Farleigh with a modern system, with motorised barriers.”

Sentencing is scheduled for a later date.

 

Enjoying RTM? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Network Rail seeks £45m integration partner for ECML digital railway

20/11/2018Network Rail seeks £45m integration partner for ECML digital railway

Network Rail has today launched the search for a private-sector partner to deliver a major digital railway transformatio... more >
ORR launches review into Delay Repay claims companies

20/11/2018ORR launches review into Delay Repay claims companies

The ORR has today launched a review into the role of Delay Repay claims companies in assisting customers with compensati... more >
Greater Anglia installs innovative WSP braking system across rural services

20/11/2018Greater Anglia installs innovative WSP braking system across rural services

Greater Anglia has fitted an innovative new braking system known as Wheel Slide Protection (WSP) to more of the rural tr... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme. Recognising that young people are more likely to take a risk trespassing on railway tracks, C... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Crossrail and Crossrail 2: in the public eye

20/11/2018Crossrail and Crossrail 2: in the public eye

Since the shock announcement of the delay to Crossrail in September, taxpayers and decision-makers alike have been anxious to find out the latest updates to the two projects. RTM’s Jack Donnelly headed to Whitehall to report on what their bosses have to say about the schemes. Despite noting the “great frustration” of Lon... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Introducing iPort

20/11/2018Introducing iPort

Steve Freeman, managing director of iPort Rail, introduces the UK’s newest inland freight terminal. The UK’s newest inland rail ... more >
Maintaining light rail

20/11/2018Maintaining light rail

Dr Adam Bevan, Professor Paul Allen and Professor Jay Jaiswal, of the Institute of Railway Research, take a look at new rail asset management tec... more >
dessan Design in the digital railway

20/11/2018dessan Design in the digital railway

Denise Watkins, business development manager at Hitachi Information Control Systems Europe (HICSE), discusses her organisation’s exciting n... more >
Challenging the perceptions of rail

13/11/2018Challenging the perceptions of rail

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Rail Industry Association (RIA) explains how the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme is challenging people’... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

HS2 train race: making the case

20/11/2018HS2 train race: making the case

Bombardier and Hitachi’s commitment to providing the best HS2 rolling stock pitch to the government was signified with the launch of their ... more >