A rail company has been fined after appearing in court. The prosecution was brought by the rail regulator, the Office for Rail and Road.
The 11 year old boy easily gained access to the rail depot with his friends to retrieve a football. He was then able to climb on top of a stationary freight wagon, where he suffered a fatal electrical shock. He was pronounced dead at the scene, despite the efforts of paramedics.
The company in question were charged with two offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They failed to ensure persons not in their employment were not exposed to unnecessary risk to health and safety. Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, they also failed to undertake a suitable and sufficient assessment of risks.
The court heard how the Office for Rail and Road had conducted their investigation. The company in question had failed to evaluate the risk of unauthorised access to the terminal. They had also failed to provide appropriate measures to prevent the unauthorised access to areas of freight movement and an overhead line supplying 25,000 volts.
The court also heard that the company frequently placed freight wagons under the electric lines for prolonged periods. There was a presence of unelectrified sidings in this area. This allowed close access to the high voltage cables which should not have been accessible.
Judge HHJ Lucking QC condemned the company: ‘In contesting this trial the defendant failed to take responsibility for a serious and obvious failing to allow public access to what is and was a dangerous environment.’ The company was fined £6.5 million.
In 2019 a 13 year old boy suffered life changing injuries after receiving an electric shock in a rail yard. The company was fined £2.7 million. Earlier this year, National Rail was fined £135,000 after a 13 year old boy was left with serious injuries following an electric shock.
It’s so important to have a comprehensive risk assessment in order to avoid incidents such as this. The company in question had not evaluated the risk of unauthorised access, and had not made efforts to prevent unauthorised access. Had they had a thorough risk assessment, this incident might well have been avoided.More News