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Network Rail to be sentenced after worker death

Posted in: Employer Negligence Head and Brain Injuries Spine & Back Injuries Workplace Injuries Wrongful & Accidental Death 

Network Rail has pleaded guilty to a health and safety breach after 64-year-old Malcolm Slater died while repairing power lines. Mr. Slater had been working on the line between Norwich and London in 2008 when he fell 15ft (4.5m) onto the tracks below. The court heard that Network Rail had failed to provide workers with safe equipment, as previous overloading had weakened the hoist that they were using. Network Rail had already admitted to similar failures in past hearings, as the equipment provided for lifting their employees was unsafe.  

The court heard that this report of unsafe equipment was not the first, with previous hoist alarms – which provides warning regarding excess weight – simply being muted. This then resulted in the accident of June 2008 when Mr. Slater and two other colleagues were working 15ft off the ground in a basket welded to the hydraulic arm of an Unimog hoist at Margaretting. However, the weld failed, causing the men to crash to the ground onto the tracks below. A post-mortem examination of Mr. Slater discovered that his death was due to severe head and spinal injuries.

Letter written to the Office of Rail Regulation

Network Rail has admitted to breaching health and safety legislation, as the equipment available to workers was not of a safe standard. Network Rail have stated its “deep regret and remorse”, apologising to the family of Mr. Slater and the other two injured colleagues. An inquest in 2010 heard that a letter would be written to the Office of Rail Regulation, asking for all machinery and equipment to be fully tested.

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