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The Office of Rail and Road has announced that Network Rail has been fined £696,666 after pleading guilty for failing to protect the safety of staff after an incident at Godinton Substation in Kent in 2018.
A railway employee was seriously injured with third-degree and mixed depth burns in a fire at the substation. The ORR says that Network Rail failed to prevent water from leaking into the building.
The ORR found that working conditions were not safe and these failures led to an electrical arc and fire whilst Network Rail workers worked on a circuit breaker.
Conditions in the substation were described as being ‘like a sauna’.
Ian Prosser CBE, HM Chief Inspector of Railways, ORR said: “This case highlights the importance of acting to reduce or eliminate known risks at an early stage.
“Network Rail knew of the water leak at Godinton for nine months and despite concerns raised by staff and contractors, the required work was repeatedly delayed.
“This was a known risk and the failure to deal with it effectively led to staff working in unsafe conditions, resulting in serious injuries to one employee. This case reinforces the importance of acting effectively on known concerns to protect the health and safety of employees on Britain’s railway.”
In his remarks, District Judge Barron said that the system of work in place at the time was not sufficiently robust and the training programme for Network Rail’s technicians at the time did not adequately identify the dangers of working near to live equipment in damp conditions.
District Judge Barron added that as a result of these failures Network Rail’s employees were exposed to risk, and that risk materialised on 20 December 2018 when the flashover and fire occurred.
This article first appeared on www.railadvent.co.uk
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