Siemens To Pay £1.4m For Train Technician’s Fatal Crush

Siemens Plc has pleaded guilty to breaching s 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act after a self-employed contractor died at its Train Care Facility in west London.

Technician Ian Parker, 58, was fatally crushed when a 650kg traction motor he was preparing for removal from an electric Desiro 360/2 train, which operates on the Heathrow Express, fell on him. He died at the scene.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) investigated the incident at Siemens Train Care Facility located at 203 Old Oak Common Lane, White City, which at the time was run by Siemens Rail Systems, a division of Siemens, but is currently operated by a separate company, Siemens Mobility Ltd.

The ORR found that the self-employed technician was working as part of a team of contractors that made up the facility’s Heavy Overhaul Team.

On 13 June 2017, the team was tasked with removing several traction motors for routine refurbishment from electrically powered trains. A crane was to be used to lift the traction motors.

Each 650kg motor was connected to the train’s bogie frame by four mounting bolts and mounting sleeves held them in place. In addition, there were two safety plates below the motor to prevent it falling if the mounting bolts both failed.

The ORR investigation found that the mounting bolts, the mounting sleeves and the safety plates should not have been removed until after the crane had taken the motor’s weight.

At some point in the lead up to the incident, the self-employed contractor removed the mounting bolts, the mounting sleeves and the safety plates before the motor had been properly supported by the crane. He was in an inspection pit underneath the motor when it fell.

ORR inspectors were unable to determine when the technician removed the bolts, but noted that it is highly likely they were removed immediately before the accident and not in the right sequence.

Siemens Plc admitted breaching section 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act at the first opportunity at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Her Honour Judge Dhir KC sentenced the company at the Central Criminal Court in central London last month. She fined the business £1.4 million and ordered it to pay £99,284.84 in costs.

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Steve Kilburn
Steve Kilburn
I initially trained as an industrial chemist working in a variety of manufacturing environments eventually moving into quality management which grew to encompass environmental and occupational health and safety management systems. I hold a Masters Degree in Health and Safety law and Environmental Law and a Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Waste Management and I am a Graduate Level Member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). In my spare time I enjoy reading, my favourite author is Stephen King, and listening to music, generally from the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
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