NI railway repairer fined after train hit excavator bucket

A Northern Irish company’s failure to remove equipment from the Belfast to Dublin railway line following overnight repair work could have caused a fatal train accident, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) said.

County Down-based Northern Excavators was sentenced at Craigavon Crown Court and fined £8,000 over the incident, in which it left an excavator bucket on the track near Lisburn in County Antrim.
At about 6.50am on 4 February 2016, a six-carriage train carrying eight passengers and three crew members struck the bucket at a speed of 92 kph.
No one was injured but a crane had to be used to hoist the damaged train off the track after the bucket became lodged under the fuel tank. The track also had to be repaired. 
The HSENI said: “Northern Excavators had been subcontracted to carry out the work because of their expertise in working on railway lines. However, they failed to have adequate safety precautions in place during the repair operation, which could have resulted in passengers being hurt or even killed.”
The company was fined £4,000 for breaching Art 5(1) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 and a further £4,000 for breaching reg 5(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation (Northern Ireland) 2000. It was also ordered to pay £1,092 costs.


Keeley Downey is assistant editor of IOSH Magazine

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