Rail firm fined for mending machinery with string


A Railtrack Manufacturer has been fined £6000 for not maintaining its machinery. A Magistrates Court heard that powerful machinery used to transport sheets of steel around the company's site had been adapted using a piece of string. It was attached to the engine from the cabin allowing it to be run without an operator while the engine heated up.

The court heard that a driver put it on a battery charger while he got on with other work. When he got back he turned the charger on to boost and tried to start the engine. It did not start so he used the string which got it started. A HSE inspector, prosecuting the case, told the court that the engine reversed toward a wall and a gas main he saw the impact and could hear the hissing from the gas main and left the area.

The firm admitted that the locomotive had not been adequately maintained and were ordered to pay costs of £1146.

Simpson Millar Partner Sarah Grogan (one of the Firms many Personal Injury experts), comments that regrettably cases such as this are not as surprising as one might think. In her experience it is all too common for companies large and small to cut corners on health and safety in the interests of ‘getting the job done’. On this occasion fortunately no-one got hurt. All to often however, it is only when a member of the public comes to harm that cost cutting and dangerous practices which put health, safety and even lives at risk, come to light.

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