Network Rail fined £200,000 following level crossing accident

13 December 2018

Network Rail was today fined £200,000 with £86,000 costs after being convicted of one offence under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act.

Sentence was passed by HHJ Statman sitting at Maidstone Crown Court where Network Rail was found guilty on 11 May, following a trial which lasted 14 days.

The court had heard that signaller Douglas Caddell, 65, had suffered life-changing injuries after being struck by a level crossing gate, which had been hit by a car, as he tried to close the gate at East Farleigh Station in Kent on 24 April 2015.

The Office of Rail and Road’s (ORR) investigation into the incident revealed that Network Rail’s risk assessment was inadequate and that, despite the foreseeable risk of a driver failing to see that the gates were being closed, Network Rail had done little to protect its employees.

Ian Prosser, HM Chief Inspector of Railways, said:

"Mr Caddell suffered life-changing injuries in this incident and the sentence indicates just how seriously the offence is quite rightly viewed.

"We are absolutely committed to protecting the health and safety of passengers and railway staff and will not hesitate to take enforcement action or to prosecute when necessary.

"Network Rail has introduced safety measures at East Farleigh and we would expect to see proper risk assessments made at similar level crossings up and down the country and necessary safety measures taken."

Notes to editors

  1. Network Rail was found guilty of an offence under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and section 33 (1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act. The jury failed to reach a verdict on a second count under the Health and Safety at work Act section 2(1)(a) and 33(1)(a) 1974.
  2. ORR's recent prosecutions:
    1. London and Southeastern and Wettons were fined a total of £3.6million in November 2017 after a previous prosecution under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act.
    2. Network Rail Infrastructure Limited was fined £733,000 in March 2018 after being prosecuted for contravention of section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 following the derailment of a freight train.
    3. BAM Nuttall and McNealy Brown were fined a total of £965,000 in April 2018 after being prosecuted under section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
    4. South Devon Railway Trust was fined £40,000 in May 2018 after being prosecuted under section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
  3. The Office of Rail and Road is the UK’s rail regulator and strategic roads monitor for England. Follow us @railandroad.
  4. Fine: £200,000; Costs: £86, 389.21; victim £120.