Network Rail fined £1.4m after worker 'crushed' under machinery and left with life-changing injuries

A 25 tonne 'Superboss' ballast distributor. Credit: Office of Road and Rail

Network Rail have been fined £1.4 million for a health and safety breach, which left an employee with life-changing injuries.

The Office of Rail and Road found failings that led to a worker being crushed between the conveyor of a 25 tonne 'Superboss' ballast distributor and Kubota people carrier.

It happened on a stretch of track between Crewe and Chester on 19 September 2018.

The man suffered 'catastrophic' and life-changing injuries to his legs and spine, 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, causing permanent disability.

A second worker suffered minor injuries to his wrist and shoulder from the collision.

Network Rail were fined £1.4 million following an investigation by the Office of Road and Rail. Credit: PA

The investigation led to Network Rail being prosecuted under the the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The company was fined after pleading guilty at Chester Magistrates Court on Wednesday 11 May.

Failings were found in the 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.

The Office of Rail and Road's HM Chief Inspector of Railways Ian Prosser CBE said:

"The injuries sustained to a Network Rail employee on 19 September 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."