Following an accident at a level crossing in Kent over three years ago, Network Rail has been hit with a fine of £200,000 after a 65-year-old man was left with life-changing injuries.
The infrastructure owner was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court and was convicted of one offence relating the Health and Safety Work Act following a lengthy trial that was spread out over 14 days. Network Rail will have been told they will have to pay £200,000 and costs of £86,000.
The court was told that Douglas Caddell, a signaller was struck by a level crossing gate from which he suffered significant injuries. The gate at East Farleigh Station had been hit by a car but upon attempting to close the gate on the 24 April 2015, he sustained the injuries.
Following the investigation from the ORR, they determined that the risk assessment carried out by Network Rail fell short and was inadequate. Despite the risk of a driver failing to see the gates being closed, it was found that the organisation had not done enough to put the correct measures in place to protect its staff.
The HM chief inspector of railways Ian Prosser stated that the fine shows that the offence was considered to be extremely serious and was correctly viewed as that.
He went on to say that “We are absolutely committed to protecting the health and safety of passengers and railway staff and will not hesitate to take enforcement action or to prosecute when necessary,”
“Network Rail has introduced safety measures at East Farleigh and we would expect to see proper risk assessments made at similar level crossings up and down the country and necessary safety measures taken.”
While the fine will go some way to helping the victim deal with any needs as a result of the life-changing injuries, it does indicate that there was a serious lack of care involved.
This is not the first health and safety-related story that has been released in recent days as Balfour Beatty and London Underground we fined £433,000 after breaching health and safety laws in an ORR prosecution.