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30.09.14

BAM Nuttall fined £140,000 for crushing accident

BAM Nuttall have been fine £140,000 and ordered to pay costs of £42,700 following a prosecution by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).

The company pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety law in 2010 when, during the replacement of a South London railway bridge, a construction worker was crushed under a six tonne concrete and steel beam.

BAM Nuttall was the principal contractor employed by Network Rail to demolish and replace Pouparts Bridge, located between Clapham Junction and Battersea Park in South London. The company had sub-contracted the lifting elements of the work to Balfour Beatty Rail Ltd.

On 27 December 2010, Balfour Beatty construction workers were preparing to lift a steel and concrete ‘L’ shaped beam, weighing approximately six tonnes, by crane from a railway wagon into its new position on the bridge. The beam toppled over as it was being unsecured from the wagon, crushing the legs of a worker just above the ankle on the floor of the rail wagon. He suffered severe injuries which led to one leg being amputated.

Tom Wake, ORR’s principal inspector of railways for the south east, said that an ORR investigation found BAM Nuttall had failed to assess the risks associated with loading and unloading the beams, and had not planned the activity appropriately. The company also did not provide information about the potential instability of the concrete beam to the workers carrying out the loading and unloading activities.

“These serious failings are not acceptable conduct from a company in charge of high-risk construction sites across Britain’s railways,” said Wake. “The safety of workers at rail construction sites is a top priority for the regulator. ORR inspectors are out on the railway network, monitoring rail and construction companies such as BAM Nuttall, to ensure safety is not compromised.”

Earlier this month another BAM Nuttall worker was involved in a crushing accident, this time while working on Cardiff Central station. He was crushed under a piece of machinery known as a brick grab.

A spokesman from Network Rail confirmed the incident to Construction Enquirer. He said: “Rest assured Network Rail will immediately be conducting a thorough investigation into this incident to find out what happened and to make sure it does not happen again, but at present our thoughts are firmly with the injured individual.”

(Image: Library picture of construction work on a railway bridge on the Gospel Oak to Barking line)

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