Network Rail and GT Railway Maintenance Ltd fined £312,500 for causing death of rail worker

22 March 2013

Network Rail and GT Railway Maintenance Ltd (trading as Carillion Rail) were today fined a total of £312,500 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.

Notes to editors

  1. The Office of Rail Regulation is the independent safety and economic regulator for Great Britain's railways. 
    • Network Rail has been fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £140,000.
    • GT Railway Maintenance (trading as Carillion Rail) has been fined £112,500 and ordered to pay costs of £40,000.
  2. Financial penalties imposed by the court:
  3. Following the sentencing hearing, GT Railway Maintenance applied to the Court under the Criminal Procedure Rules to vary the fine imposed on it on the basis that the judge had erred in calculating that fine. The Court agreed and the fine was reduced from £118,125 to £112,500.
  4. Railway workers are entitled to the same standard of protection from dangerous parts of machinery as those in other industrial sectors and that this duty applied to both GT Railway Maintenance as contractors and Network Rail the owner of the machinery.
  5. On 30 January 2013, after a three week trial, Network Rail were found guilty of failing to ensure that persons not in their employment were not exposed to risks to their health and safety contrary to sections 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and failed to ensure that measures are taken which are effective to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery, under Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
  6. On 5 December 2012 GT Railway Maintenance (trading as Carillion Rail) pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that persons in their employment were not exposed to risks to their health and safety contrary to sections 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and failed to ensure that measures are taken which are effective to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery, under Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.