Network Rail admits health and safety breach which led to death of Harold Wood man

Malcolm Slater died after fallling 15ft

Malcolm Slater died after fallling 15ft - Credit: Archant

Network Rail has pleaded guilty to a major health and safety breach in the wake of a horror accident in which one worker died and another two were injured.

Chelmsford Crown Court was told that despite past warnings about hundreds of incidents of overloading of equipment used to give access to overhead power cables Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd was still failing to act in the run-up to the June 2008 accident at Margaretting, in Essex.

Malcolm Slater, 64, of Harold Wood, died after falling 15ft onto the railway track from the metal basket of a hydraulic lift.

And two others with him who also fell were injured.

Mr Slater who suffered head and spinal injuries, was in the metal basket of a hoist which fell away from its hydraulic arm with two other men. They were working on a cable after a train brought a power line down.


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He died on July 1, 2008, 20 days after the incident, in Queen’s Hospital, Romford. The other two injured men were Phil Miles and Daniel Wild who were later said to be office-bound due to their injuries.

Network Rail pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the suitability of work equipment on Tuesday.

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Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson said in 2005 an investigation found there were 388 incidents of overloading and during an eight-month period up to June 2008 there was overloading on 15 days and the company “failed to do anything armed with that information from stopping it”

Prashant Popat, mitigating, said: “Network Rail wishes to express its deep regret and remorse for the death of one of its employees and the injuries to two colleagues. They are extremely sorry for the failure to provide the correct equipment.”

However, he said the company which manufactured the vehicle being used had been specifically told to ensure it could deal with three men and equipment.

Two other charges are being left on the court file.

The hearing continues.

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