Home >Network Rail fined £125,000 following death of Essex track worker

Network Rail fined £125,000 following death of Essex track worker

13 September 2013

Network Rail has been fined £125,000 and ordered to pay costs of £85,000 following a prosecution brought by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) for breaches of health and safety law which were identified following the death of Malcolm Slater, a Network Rail track maintenance worker, in June 2008.

On 11 June 2008, Network Rail track maintenance workers were repairing damaged overhead lines at Margaretting, near Chelmsford in Essex. They were working at a height of approximately15 feet on a mobile elevated platform attached to a vehicle, when the platform became detached and fell to the ground. All three occupants of the platform sustained injuries in the fall including fractured bones and bruising, while one, Malcolm Slater, suffered far more serious injuries and tragically died on 1 July 2008.


The sentencing at Chelmsford Crown Court on 10th September follows an extensive ORR investigation into the incident which found that Network Rail had failed in its duty to provide suitable work equipment for its employees and therefore failed to properly plan the repair work. The court heard that Network Rail had not provided its staff with training on working within the platform and did not identify that the overload alarm had been switched off despite evidence showing the platform weight limit of 350kg had been significantly exceeded on a regular basis. Network Rail pleaded guilty to charges brought in connection with the incident at Chelmsford Crown Court on 30 August 2013.


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.”