Rail News

10.07.12

£5000 fine for heritage railway health and safety breach

A heritage railway operator has been fined £5,000 after an accident in which its own chairman had his legs crushed, requiring eight hours of emergency surgery.

The ORR has prosecuted Telford Steam Railway for criminal breaches of health and safety law, following the incident in July last year in which a 450kg length of rail being moved from a wagon to the trackside by crane hit Paul Hughes on the legs.

The operator has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000.

An investigation found that none of the staff or volunteers involved in the work had received sufficient training or been provided with adequate PPE. No planning took place before the work and the crane being used was unstable, defective and not certified, the ORR found.

David Keay, ORR’s head of inspection, railway operators said: “There are hundreds of heritage railways inGreat Britain, and the vast majority are run in a safe and professional manner.

“However in this instance, those working on the Telford Steam Railway put their lives at risk, attempting to move a 450kg length of rail with an unstable and defective crane, without training or planning. We will not allow such an inexcusable and casual approach to the safety of those working onBritain’s railways.

“Safety is the rail regulator‘s priority, and this year we will be inspecting heritage railways across Britain to ensure they are being operated safely.”

Hughes ended up having to have ‘external fixers’ fitted to both legs, in an innovative operation at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire. The volunteer-run railway was closed to the public after the accident, and didn’t reopen until April this year. 

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Image copyright littlestar19, used here under a Creative Commons licence

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