Railway safety and crime

03.12.14

Seatbelt rules tightened for railway workers after crash deaths

Network Rail is to “tighten up” its approach to the wearing of seatbelts by staff and contractors driving to and from worksites, after finding it was a factor in four of five deaths on the roads this year.

It summoned Carillion to attend its executive committee to discuss actions taken following the crash on the M4 in June that caused the deaths of three track workers on their way home from a shift at Reading.

Steven Sheldon (pictured above) and Martin Williams died in the crash in the early hours of 9 June, and James Vernon Stark died in hospital a few days later. All were from South Wales. Their van, which had five people on board, was in collision with a lorry on the hard shoulder near Chippenham.

In its latest board minutes, Network Rail said the discussion with Carillion was to discuss that “tragic accident”, and in particular to discuss the “lessons learnt and actions being taken” by Carillion.

The minutes noted: “It was noted that there had been five fatalities in road accidents this year involving our employees or those of contractors and a failure to wear seat belts would appear to have been a factor in at least four of these. Network Rail would be tightening up its approach to the wearing of seat belts, already enshrined in the Life Saving Rules, and would introduce a campaign in this area and move towards a zero tolerance regime.”

After the crash in June, Network Rail’s director for the Western & Wales region, Robbie Burns, said he was “determined” to learn lessons.

A Carillion spokesperson told RTM at the time of the crash: “We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident and at this time our priority is to provide support to those who have been affected by it and we extend our condolences to everyone concerned.

“We will be looking to see if there are lessons that could be learned for the future and will be working with all the relevant parties to do this.”

RTM has asked Carillion for comment following its appearance at the Network Rail committee.

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