London Underground fined £500,000 for lift shaft fall

2 December 2016

London Underground Ltd has been fined £500,000 for breaches of health and safety law after a maintenance worker was injured in a disused station at South Kentish Town in 2014.

Today's sentencing at Blackfriars Crown Court follows an investigation by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) into an incident on 22 September 2014, where a worker fell 9.5m from a tower scaffold while cleaning a former lift shaft.  The worker suffered a number of injuries, spending ten days in hospital.

ORR's investigation found London Underground failed to properly plan, manage and supervise the work. Evidence showed procedures were available which may have prevented this incident, however they were not implemented and followed. ORR inspectors also found the tower scaffold was incorrectly assembled and its stability had not been assessed.

London Underground pleaded guilty to the charge at Blackfriars Magistrates’ Court on 7 October 2016.

Keith Atkinson, HM Principal Inspector of Railways said:

"In 2014, London Underground’s failure to properly plan, manage or supervise maintenance work at the disused station in South Kentish Town, led to a worker spending ten days in hospital, and could have been fatal.

"London Underground has a good safety record, but this incident highlights why there can be no room for complacency.

"Safety remains a top priority for the rail regulator. We will always take action against companies or individuals where failings are found."

Notes to editors

  1. London Underground was also ordered to pay costs of £50,000.
  2. Following the incident, ORR immediately served two prohibition notices on London Underground. These related to safe access into the former lift shaft and the incorrectly assembled scaffold. London Underground fully addressed the issues necessary to discharge both notices.
  3. ORR prosecuted London Underground under a breach of Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
  4. ORR’s Annual Health and Safety Report of Performance on Britain’s Railways: 2015-16 can be found on our website at: http://orr.gov.uk/what-and-how-we-regulate/health-and-safety/monitoring-and-reporting/annual-health-and-safety-annual-report-2016.
  5. The Office of Rail and Road is the UK’s rail regulator and strategic roads monitor for England. Follow us @railandroad