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Sat December 15 2018

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Balfour Beatty fined £333k after rail crush incident

4 Dec Balfour Beatty and London Underground have been ordered to pay out nearly half a million pounds after a construction worker was crushed by a road rail vehicle.

London Underground and Balfour Beatty Rail pleaded guilty to breaking health and safety laws in a prosecution brought by the Office of Rail & Road (ORR).

In the early hours of 4 June 2016, Adrian Rascarache, 36, was struck by a road rail vehicle (RRV). His lower body was crushed between the RRV and the platform edge of Whitechapel station, resulting in serious injuries to his pelvis.

Balfour Beatty Rail was fined & £333,000 and LU was fined £100,000. In addition, both organisations were ordered to pay £60,000 costs each.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard that ORR’s investigation found that despite London Underground and Balfour Beatty being aware of the risks posed by allowing workers to guide RRVs by walking along the track in front of the machine, there was no safe system of work put in place that night to address the risk. In fact, a decision had been taken not to adopt a procedure called ‘send and receive’, which eliminated the need for people to walk between machines, as it was considered a slower method of working.

ORR also found that on the night of Mr Rascarache’s injury, workers were not given the required safety briefings before starting their shift, as the signing-in procedure had been deliberately by-passed.

HM chief inspector of railways Ian Prosser said: "Today’s sentences send a clear message that the health and safety of workers must not be compromised. In this instance, corners were cut as a response to perceived time pressure. This is unacceptable and resulted in the terrible injuries suffered by Mr Rascarache.

"The safety of workers is an absolute priority for the ORR and we will take appropriate action against organisations or individuals when failings are found."

A Balfour Beatty spokesperson said: "Balfour Beatty deeply regrets this incident and the serious harm caused to a member of our workforce. The safety of our workforce and the public is always our primary concern. Balfour Beatty has since taken appropriate corrective action to take the lessons learnt from this incident in 2016 and share them across our business."

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