Contractors working for Network Rail at East Croydon Station have been fined nearly £1million after a painter working for them fell through a ceiling into a passenger waiting room on the platforms.
BAM Nuttall and McNealy Brown were fined £900,000 and £65,000 respectively after they admitted failing to put proper procedures and safeguards in place.
The fines were handed down in Croydon Crown Court last week, following a prosecution brought by regulator the Office of Rail and Road as a result of the accident in January 2015. The painter, Paul Welstead, suffered severe ligament damage and has been unable to return to work as an industrial painter since falling around 10 feet.
The companies admitted charges under S.3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
The court heard that the two companies agreed the £12million contract with Network Rail to undertake the replacement of station floor surfaces, canopy roofs and cladding.
BAM Nuttall started work in January 2014 and later that year a third company, DRH, was asked by the existing contractors, to supply industrial painters to undertake specialist tasks.
Welstead and a colleague were given a site induction when they arrived for work on December 18, but, importantly, they were not briefed on the risk assessment, which required work over the platforms to be undertaken at night, for workers to wear full body harnesses and for the waiting room below to be locked.
Returning to work on January 7 following the Christmas and New Year holiday, Welstead and his colleague were not given another safety briefing, nor were they warned about fragile roofs, and at 9.40am he fell through the unguarded suspended ceiling into the waiting room below.
“The fines handed out send a powerful message to the industry that the safety of workers on the railways is absolutely paramount, and proper risk assessments and briefings must be carried out and followed,” ORR’s Johnny Schute said.
“The ORR is committed to protecting the safety of workers and passengers and will not hesitate to take enforcement action when and where it is necessary.”
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