Companies fined total of £965,000 after painter falls through waiting room roof

19 April 2018

BAM Nuttall and McNealy Brown were fined £900,000 and £65,000 respectively after they admitted failing to put proper procedures and safeguards in place to prevent painter Paul Welstead falling through a ceiling into a passenger waiting room.

Mr Welstead, aged 31 at the time of the accident, suffered severe ligament damage and has been unable to return to work as an industrial painter since falling around 10 feet while working at East Croydon railway station on 7 January 2015.

The companies were fined at Croydon Crown Court on 18 April after admitting charges under S.3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in a prosecution brought by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

The Court heard that the two companies agreed the £12million contract with Network Rail to undertake the replacement of station floor surfaces, canopy roofs and cladding.

BAM Nuttall started work in January 2014 and later that year a third company, DRH, was asked by the existing contractors to supply industrial painters to undertake specialist tasks.

Mr Welstead and a colleague were given a site induction when they arrived for work on 18 December, but, importantly, they were not briefed on the risk assessment, which required work over the platforms to be undertaken at night, for workers to wear full body harnesses and for the waiting room below to be locked.

Returning to work on 7 January following the Christmas and New Year holiday, Mr Welstead and his colleague were not given another safety briefing, nor were they warned about fragile roofs, and at 9.40am he fell through the unguarded suspended ceiling into the waiting room below.

Johnny Schute, Deputy Director, Policy, Strategy and Planning, said:

"The fines handed out today send a powerful message to the industry that the safety of workers on the railways is absolutely paramount, and proper risk assessments and briefings must be carried out and followed.

"The ORR is committed to protecting the safety of workers and passengers and will not hesitate to take enforcement action when and where it is necessary."

Notes to editors

  1. BAM Nuttall and McNealy Brown were prosecuted under Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
  2. Costs of £7,157 were also awarded.
  3. Southeastern and Wettons were fined a total of £3.6 million in November last year after previous prosecutions under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
  4. The Office of Rail and Road is the UK’s rail regulator and strategic roads monitor for England. Follow us @railandroad.