Network Rail fined for Harold Wood worker Malcolm Slater’s death on Essex rail line

Malcolm Slater died after fallling 15ft

Malcolm Slater died after fallling 15ft - Credit: Archant

Network Rail has been fined £210,000 following a horror accident in which one worker from Harold Wood died and another two were injured.

The company pleaded guilty to a major health and safety breach at Chelmsford Crown Court this week.

Malcolm Slater, 64, of Harold Wood died after falling 15 feet on to 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 at Margaretting, in Essex. after a train brought a power line down.

Mr Slater died on July 1 2008, 20 days after the incident, at Queens Hospital, Romford.


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The other two injured men were Phil Miles and Daniel Wild who were later said to be office bound due to their injuries.

Warnings about hundreds of incidents of overloading of equipment used to give access to overhead power cables were ignored by Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd to act in the run up to the accident in June 2008, the court heard.

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Prosecutor Duncan said the company “failed to do anything, armed with that information, from stopping it.”

Imposing a fine and legal costs order on the company, Judge David Turner QC, said on Tuesday: “This pattern was not a tragic one-off.”

He said that the accident may have been caused by a “combination” of defective weld and overload described as “fatigue cracking” pointed out that the company had 10,000 miles of track and 35,000 members of staff to supervise.

However, he said that the overloading that had taken place had been “a temptation for the workforce waiting to happen.”

Network Rail pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the suitability of work equipment. Two other charges were allowed to lie on file.

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