Network Rail fined for not complying with electrical safety order

5 August 2016

Network Rail has been fined £70,000 for failing to comply with an Improvement Notice issued by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). The Improvement Notice required electrical cabinets on the railway to be made safe, reducing the risk of passengers and other members of the public being exposed to live 650V electrical equipment.

In November 2013, following an investigation into two incidents where rail workers suffered electric shocks while maintaining signalling equipment, ORR served two Improvement Notices on Network Rail.

The first Notice required Network Rail to inspect thousands of 650V electrical cabinets. This identified that there were cabinets to which members of the public were exposed. The second Notice required that these were brought up to a safe standard. The company did not make sufficient progress with this work and failed to comply with the Notice by the due date, leading ORR to launch this prosecution.

On Thursday 4 August, Network Rail pleaded guilty to the offence at Blackfriars Crown Court under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

Daniel Bulcock, ORR inspector said:

Prior to our enforcement action these electrical cabinets posed a very real safety risk.
I am pleased to report that Network Rail has now taken appropriate action to improve the safety of these cabinets. We will continue to work with the railway industry to continually improve management of health and safety.

Notes to editors

  1. The Office of Rail and Road is the UK’s rail regulator and strategic roads monitor for England. Follow us @railandroad.
  2. Electrical cabinets are metal boxes which supply power to trackside signalling equipment.
  3. Network Rail was also ordered to pay costs of £94,966.18
  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