A railway worker suffered catastrophic injuries to his legs and spine after being crushed between a 25-tonne conveyor belt and a passenger car. The worker is now permanently disabled after losing 12cm of bone on his left leg and 4cm on his right leg.
The tendons and nerves of his right leg were also irreparably damaged. Now Network Rail has been fined £1.4million for a health and safety breach following an investigation by regulators. The Office for Rail and Road found a litany of shortcomings at the Cheshire site.
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In addition, a second worker suffered minor injuries to his wrist and shoulder as a result of the collision. It happened on September 19, 2018 on a 19-mile track between Crewe and Chester.
The ORR’s investigation led to the prosecution of Network Rail under the Health Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Network Rail was fined yesterday (11 May 2022) after pleading guilty to Chester Magistrates Court.
HM Chief Inspector of Railways Ian Prosser CBE, said: “The injuries sustained by a Network Rail employee on 19 September 2018 were appalling and had a devastating impact on him and his family, to whom we extend our sincere condolences.
“The incident was caused by a totally inadequate oversight of the task at all levels. No one ensured that those under their supervision were working safely, leading to this incident that could have been easily prevented.”
Investigators identified deficiencies in Network Rail’s yard management, including poor planning, inadequate supervision of works, poor communication at all levels and failure to provide adequate information, instructions and training to safety-critical personnel. A judge said the accident was the result of many layers of failure within Network Rail.
District Judge Sanders said there was a scheduling glitch with ambiguity about what was going on, a lack of oversight that was insufficiently robust and there were disruptions to Network Rail’s business operations.
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