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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Network Rail fined £1.4m after worker crushed on line between Chester and Crewe

NETWORK RAIL has been fined £1.4 million after a worker suffered catastrophic, life-changing injuries to his legs and spine while working on the railway between Chester and Crewe.

An investigation by the Office of Rail and Road found failings led to a worker being crushed between the conveyor of a 25 tonne ‘Superboss’ ballast distributor and a Kubota people carrier.

The worker suffered catastrophic and life-changing injuries to his legs and spine. He lost 12cm of bone to his left leg and 4cm to his right leg. The tendons and nerves of his right leg were also irreparably damaged, causing permanent disability.

A second worker suffered minor injuries to his wrist and shoulder from the collision.

The incident happened on September 19, 2018, on a 19-mile stretch of track between Crewe and Chester, off Winsford Road, near Cholmondeston.

Network Rail has now been fined £1.4 million for the health and safety breach.

ORR’s investigation led to it prosecuting Network Rail under the Health Safety at Work Act 1974. Network Rail pleaded guilty at Chester Magistrates Court on Wednesday, May 11.

ORR found failings in Network Rail’s management of the worksite, including poor planning, failure to provide adequate supervision of the works, poor communication at all levels and failure to provide adequate information, instructions and training to safety critical staff.

District Judge Sanders, on sentencing Network Rail, stated the subsequent accident was as a result of many layers of failure within Network Rail.

Judge Sanders said there was a failure in the planning with a lack of clarity as to what was going on, failure in the supervision which was insufficiently robust, and there were operating failures by Network Rail.

ORR's HM Chief Inspector of Railways, Ian Prosser CBE, said: “The injuries sustained to a Network Rail employee on September 19, 2018 were horrendous and have had a devastating impact on him and his family, to whom we offer our heartfelt sympathies.

“The incident was caused by totally inadequate supervision of the task at all levels.

“Nobody was making sure that those under their supervision had been following safe working practices, which led to this incident that could easily have been avoided.”

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