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News

Rail companies must be properly trained and supervised, says the Health and Safety Executive

HSE InfoLine : 01 October, 2004  (Company News)
Two companies, McGinley Recruitment Services Limited and Balfour Beatty Rail Infrastructure Services Limited, today received fines totalling
Two companies, McGinley Recruitment Services Limited and Balfour Beatty Rail Infrastructure Services Limited, today received fines totalling 325,000 in the Central Criminal Court, London. The prosecution, brought by the Health and Safety Executive, followed its investigation into the death of rail worker Michael Mungovan.

Michael Mungovan, aged 22, died in the early hours of Monday, 9 October 2000 after being struck by a train at Vauxhall, London. Michael was a student at Brunel University and had worked only a few times on the railway. Vauxhall is a complex and busy section of track, and Michael had been tasked by BBRIS with taking the track into possession. He was walking down the track towards a platform when he was struck from behind by a train. HSE alleged that both companies had failed in their duty of care towards Michael by exposing him to risks to his safety. MRS and BBRIS each pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at an earlier hearing at City of London Magistrates on 16 June 2004.

HSE's HM Railway Inspector, Chris Collett who led the HSE investigation said:
'Michael's untimely and unnecessary death underscores the need for companies to ensure that those working on the railways do so only when they have received proper training, instruction and information, and that they are supervised by competent people. As events earlier this week have sadly shown, railways are dangerous places and it is essential that work on them is effectively managed. Following Michael's death, the rail industry revised its Rule Book to make explicit the requirement that trackworkers undertaking possession work are properly supervised. However, I appreciate that this will be of little comfort to Michael's family, who approach the fourth anniversary of his death knowing that it was entirely avoidable, and that both companies should have taken steps to prevent Michael from coming to any harm.'

Dr Allan Sefton, HSE Director of Rail Safety said:
'Health and safety law affords protection to all those engaged in work activities and we expect those firms and agencies which supply labour to meet their statutory obligations. Michael's death was a result of systemic failures by MRS and an unsafe system of work operated by BBRIS at the time. On behalf of all my colleagues in HSE I extend my deepest sympathies to the Mungovan family for their loss.'

MRS of Watford, Hertfordshire was fined 175,000 and ordered to pay costs of 24,000 to HSE. BBRIS (known at the time of the incident as Balfour Beatty Rail Maintenance Ltd) of Thornton Heath, Surrey was fined 150,000 and ordered to pay costs of 18,144 to HSE in the Central Criminal Court, London.
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