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ORR fines Network Rail £125,000 for health and safety breach

Network Rail has been fined £125,000 for breaches of health and safety that led to a track worker’s death in 2008, the ORR has announced.

The regulator prosecuted Network Rail for failure to provide suitable work equipment and to properly plan repair work to overhead lines at Margaretting, near Chelmsford in Essex. The company pleaded guilty to the charges and will be required to pay costs of £85,000.

On 11 June 2008 three workers were injured when a mobile elevated platform became detached. One, Malcolm Slater, sustained more serious injuries and died on July 1.

The ORR found that Network Rail has not provided staff with training on working within the platform, and had not identified that the overload alarm had been switched off, despite the platform weight limit being significantly exceeded on a regular basis.

Ian Prosser, ORR’s director of railway safety, said: “Network Rail must do all it can to ensure the safety of those working on our railways. On this occasion, unacceptable failings by the company were identified following the death of Malcolm Slater, and my thoughts are with his family and friends.

“ORR’s investigation found that Network Rail had not properly planned work to repair overhead lines near Margaretting in Essex. The company did not provide relevant training or ensure appropriate equipment was being used for lifting heavy materials. These failings were identified after the tragic death of Mr Slater, and serious injury of two others also undertaking the work.

“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.”

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