Railway safety and crime

05.10.18

DB Cargo found guilty after electrocuted boy suffers life-changing injuries

DB Cargo UK has been convicted after a 13-year-old boy suffered life-changing injuries due to an electric shock from 25,000-volt OLE at the Tyne Yard in Gateshead, where a disused signal box – known locally as the ‘haunted house’ – had been left exposed to trespassers despite the high safety risks it presented.

After a four-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court due to the ORR raising the incident, the company was found guilty of failing to discharge its duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

According to the regulator, DB Cargo failed to ensure that trespassers at the yard – who often visited the disused signal box – were not exposed to health and safety risks.

On 14 June 2014, two young boys, aged 11 and 13, spent a short time in the ‘haunted house’, and climbed onto the roof of a stationary wagon which formed part of a larger 22-wagon freight train that was due to leave the depot later that evening. While on top of the wagon, they made contact with the live current and one of the boys suffered serious injuries.

The ORR said DB Cargo was fully aware that the site attracted trespassers – made clear due to the amount of graffiti on buildings, fly tipping, vandalism, and reports of drinking and drug use – but did not put up a fence or gate to prevent it. There was also no security patrol and no warning signs to deter trespassers at their point of entry.

In January 2013, the company had noted that the signal box needed to be demolished because of the risks it presented. In April that year, inspectors gave the box the highest possible risk rating, and a month later quotes were obtained for demolition. Despite this, it wasn’t demolished until October 2014 – four months after the incident.

HM chief inspector of railways Ian Prosser said his thoughts were with the families of the victims who sustained injuries and their friends and family who were left “deeply affected by this traumatic event and who continue to live with the consequences of it.”

“We are absolutely committed to protecting the health and safety of passengers, staff and anyone who comes into contact with the railway network and, as this prosecution shows, we will not hesitate to take enforcement action when necessary,” he added.

“We welcome the jury’s verdict and expect to see DB Cargo (UK) Ltd and others make proper risk assessments of their sites and ensure that necessary safety measures are taken.”

(Top image c. David Robinson)

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Ep 8 Safely shaping a sustainable railway, Martin Frobisher

20/02/2020Ep 8 Safely shaping a sustainable railway, Martin Frobisher

Martin Frobisher, Group director, Safety, Technical & Engineering and Network Rail, joins us in the RTM Podcast room to discuss the renewable... more >
Southend Victoria line disruption following a landslip at Billericay

20/02/2020Southend Victoria line disruption following a landslip at Billericay

Railway tracks on the Southend Victoria line, between Billericay and Wickford, have been damaged following a landslip. Ballast, the stones that h... more >
HS2’s latest designs for Old Oak Common Station revealed

20/02/2020HS2’s latest designs for Old Oak Common Station revealed

HS2 Ltd yesterday (Feb 19th) revealed designs for Old Oak Common Station, as part of the Schedule 17 submission to the Old Oak and Park Royal Dev... 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... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

14/11/2019Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

Rail Technology Magazine’s Matt Roberts explains the significant role data can play within the future development of the rail industry. Standing as a cornerstone of the UK transport network, the rail industry is forever striving to innovate and maximise efficiency in all aspects of its work. Data is just one such way of achievi... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >