A train at Whitechapel Station (Wikimedia Commons/Matt Buck/CC BY-SA 2.0)

London Underground and Balfour Beatty fined £433,000 after worker crushed

4 December 2018 | By Joe Quirke 0 Comments

An independent regulator has fined Balfour Beatty Rail £333,000 and London Underground £100,000 after a worker suffered “life-changing injuries” after being crushed while working at Whitechapel station.

“Corners were cut as a response to perceived time pressure”– Ian Prosser, the chief inspector of Railways

The two firms pleaded guilty to breaking health and safety laws in a case brought by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

Adrian Rascarache, 36, was trapped against the edge of a platform by a road–rail vehicle (RRV), causing damage to his lower body and pelvis.

The ORR notes that RRVs are used for “lifting, digging or levelling track”, and found during its investigation that both London Underground and Balfour Beatty were aware of the risks posed when employees manually guided RRVs by walking on the track in front of them, but did not put a “safe system of work put in place that night to address the risk”.

A bucket was also attached to the front of the RRV which restricted the driver’s view.

The regulator said the two companies took a decision to avoid “a procedure called ‘send and receive’, which eliminated the need for people to walk between machines” as it would have slowed progress.

The ORR also found that on the night Mr Rascarache was injured, workers were not given a mandatory safety briefing before their shift, and the signing-in procedure was bypassed.

Ian Prosser, the chief inspector of Railways, said: “Today’s sentences send a clear message that the health and safety of workers must not be compromised.

“In this instance, corners were cut as a response to perceived time pressure. This is unacceptable and resulted in the terrible injuries suffered by Mr Rascarache”

Balfour Beatty and London Underground will each pay £30,000 in legal costs.

Image: A train at Whitechapel Station (Wikimedia Commons/Matt Buck/CC BY-SA 2.0)