Railway worker left disabled after being crushed between 25-tonne conveyor and people carrier

A railway worker suffered catastrophic injuries to his legs and spine after being crushed between a 25-tonne conveyor and a people carrier. The worker is now disabled permanently after losing 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. Now, Network Rail has been fined £1.4m for a health and safety breach after an investigation by regulators. The Office for Rail and Road found a litany of failings at the site in Cheshire.

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Additionally, a second worker suffered minor injuries to his wrist and shoulder from the collision. It happened on September 19, 2018, on a 19 mile stretch of track between Crewe and Chester.

The ORR’s investigation led to it prosecuting Network Rail under the Health Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Network Rail was fined after pleading guilty at Chester Magistrates Court yesterday (11 May 2022).

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.”

Investigators 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. A judge said the accident was the result of many layers of failure within Network Rail.

District 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.

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