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Network Rail and GT Railway Maintenance Ltd fined £318,125 for causing death of rail worker

Network Rail and GT Railway Maintenance Ltd (trading as Carillion Rail) have been fined a total of £318,125 and ordered to pay costs of £180,000 following a prosecution brought by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) for breaches of health and safety law which led to the death of Mr Liam Robinson, a GT Railway Maintenance employee, in Stafford in 2003.

On 30 September 2003, employees of GT Railway Maintenance were carrying out routine maintenance on a rail engineering machine owned by Network Rail when an electrical fault caused part of the machine to move whilst one of the workers, Mr Robinson, was working inside it. He was trapped by the moving parts and subsequently died due to the injuries sustained.

Today’s sentencing at Stafford Crown Court follows an extensive investigation by ORR into the incident. It found that the safety risks for those using the machine had not been properly identified, assessed or addressed by either Network Rail or GT Railway Maintenance. Evidence showed the machinery had insufficient guard rails fitted, and there had been an established practice of keeping the engine running while maintenance was undertaken ? significantly increasing the risk of harm to those working on it.

Darren Anderson, ORR’s Principal Inspector of Railways, said:

“My thoughts today are with the family of Mr Liam Robinson, and all those affected by this tragic incident. His entirely avoidable death was caused by Network Rail and GT Railway Maintenance’s lack of adequate safety precautions when accessing dangerous parts of this machinery. The sentence passed today by the court clearly demonstrates the seriousness of their offences.
“Over the past decade, improvements in health and safety have led to Great Britain’s railway becoming one of the safest railways in Europe. However, there is no room for complacency. ORR will continue to press the rail industry, including bringing criminal prosecutions where necessary, to ensure the safety of those travelling or working on Britain’s rail network.”
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