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Author Topic: Network Rail guilty after signalman broke neck at level crossing  (Read 329 times)
Chris from Nailsea
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« on: May 11, 2018, 11:28:07 pm »

From the BBC:

Quote
Network Rail guilty after signalman broke neck at level crossing



Doug Caddell said he thought he was going to die after breaking his neck

Network Rail has been found guilty of failing to assess risks after a signalman suffered a broken neck at a level crossing in Kent.

Doug Caddell was injured in East Farleigh, near Maidstone, in April 2015 when a car hit a gate he was trying to close at the crossing.

A jury at Maidstone Crown Court was unable to reach a verdict on a charge of failing to protect an employee.

Mr Caddell said the three-week court case had been "soul destroying".

CCTV footage showed Mr Caddell pushing the level crossing gate when it was hit by a vehicle, causing it to bounce back and knock the signaller to the ground.


Doug Caddell was working at the level crossing in East Farleigh when a car hit the gate

Speaking after being injured, Mr Caddell said the incident had left him with "one very vivid memory of my wife holding back tears when she was begging me to breathe".

Network Rail is due to be sentenced at a later date.

The driver of the car died before he could be prosecuted.

Mr Cadwell, who was able to walk out of court, said after the verdict: "We are really grateful it is all over. It has been soul destroying and life-changing. We hope, as a result of this, signallers will have a system implemented that will cover their health and safety better."

An investigation by the independent safety regulator, the Office of Road and Rail (ORR), found Network Rail's risk assessment consisted only of a 30-minute census of traffic using the crossing and it had concluded the risk of deliberate misuse of the crossing was "significantly lower than average".

The ORR said Network Rail's assessment "did not constitute a suitable or sufficient risk assessment".

A spokesman for Network Rail said: "We accept this verdict and we have taken action to put in place suitable risk assessments. We also recognise that the incident which led to this investigation had a serious effect on the health and wellbeing of our signaller, who continues to be a valued member of our team."


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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2018, 12:51:25 pm »

A horrible accident, but it seems to me that the driver of the car should be the guilty party, and not the employer of the signalman.
Unless of course some extenuating circumstance such as sudden illness or mechanical failure excuses the car driver. In that case it would seem to be an accident without anyone being criminally liable.
For this reason, employers are required to have employee liability insurance to properly compensate victims of accidents at work.
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2018, 01:10:23 pm »

A horrible accident, but it seems to me that the driver of the car should be the guilty party, and not the employer of the signalman.
Unless of course some extenuating circumstance such as sudden illness or mechanical failure excuses the car driver. In that case it would seem to be an accident without anyone being criminally liable.
For this reason, employers are required to have employee liability insurance to properly compensate victims of accidents at work.

But there's nothing that says one incident can only have one guilty party, under different laws, is there? That piece says (or strongly implies) the driver was due to be prosecuted, had that been possible. The law has evolved so employers now must not (for example) leave employees exposed to the effects of criminally bad driving, where that is predicable. Insurance is only a poor substitute for protection and prevention, after all.
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2018, 03:36:43 pm »


Network Rail is due to be sentenced at a later date.

The driver of the car died before he could be prosecuted.

Mr Cadwell, who was able to walk out of court, said after the verdict: "We are really grateful it is all over. It has been soul destroying and life-changing. We hope, as a result of this, signallers will have a system implemented that will cover their health and safety better."

An investigation by the independent safety regulator, the Office of Road and Rail (ORR), found Network Rail's risk assessment consisted only of a 30-minute census of traffic using the crossing and it had concluded the risk of deliberate misuse of the crossing was "significantly lower than average".

The ORR said Network Rail's assessment "did not constitute a suitable or sufficient risk assessment".

A spokesman for Network Rail said: "We accept this verdict and we have taken action to put in place suitable risk assessments. We also recognise that the incident which led to this investigation had a serious effect on the health and wellbeing of our signaller, who continues to be a valued member of our team."


The whole thing is so utterly unfortunate ...

It does appear that there might have been multiple guilt ... it has been found in the case of Network Rail, but as the car driver has passed away it (?) cannot be tried.

Now ... "Network Rail is due to be sentenced at a later date".   Kneejerk reaction says "and so should a guilty party". But yet what would / will the punishment be?  Surely not a fine ... which would (as I understand it) most likely be passed on in higher costs to Network Rail's customers - indirectly the travelling public - or to Network Rail's owners - the taxpayer.

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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2018, 04:54:03 pm »

The fine ends up in the Treasury Consolidated Fund, which is basically HMG's bank account, to then be spent along with all other government income.

So it's something of a zero sum game ultimately.
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2018, 09:29:45 pm »

Internally NR is taking this Court case seriously and at a very senior level, as such the level of the fine is not important, the Judge will know the fine will only impact on a public service so its likely to be the minimum allowed.


NR does take workforce safety very seriously both its employed staff and contractors.
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