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Siemens fined £1.4m after ORR prosecution following death of contractor

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Siemens PLC has been fined £1.4m after pleading guilty to an offence under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, which followed an investigation and prosecution by industry regulator the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

The incident involving a self-employed contractor at Siemens happened on 13 June 2017 at the company’s Train Care Facility in west London. The technician was killed when a 650kg traction motor he was preparing for removal from an electric locomotive fell on him and caused him fatal crush injuries.

It was found that the accident was caused or contributed to by the failure to implement a safe system of work for the task being undertaken.

An investigation by ORR revealed defects in task planning, which included the failure to carry out an appropriate task specific risk assessment and a lack of clear allocation of responsibility for supervision of the task.

Sentence was passed by Her Honour Judge Dhir KC at the Central Criminal Court London on Tuesday 7 February 2022, following ORR’s prosecution.

In her remarks, Judge Dhir KC said that this was an accident which the defendant ought to have prevented. In explaining the size of the fine, she added: “It must be sufficient to bring home the message to management and shareholders the need to comply with the regulations.”

Ian Prosser, Chief Inspector of Railways, said:

“Our thoughts remain with the friends and family of the deceased.

“A catalogue of basic errors resulted in this tragedy. ORR’s thorough investigation highlighted that it is imperative any work undertaken for Britain’s rail network requires a safety risk assessment appropriate to the task and involves staff, who are fully trained, to carry out that task under constant supervision.

“We hope Siemens have learnt from this and avoid a repeat of this terrible event.”

Photo credit: ORR / Siemens

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