Following our post about the launch of the ‘Safety at Level Crossings’ campaign, a recent court case highlights the devastating effect of failing to ensure the health and safety of road users at level crossings.
On 10th April 2013 at Birmingham Crown Court, Network Rail and a signalman were sentenced for health and safety breaches that resulted in the death of a woman and caused serious injuries to her husband. The signalman had raised safety barriers shortly before the car carrying the husband and wife was struck by a train at a level crossing in Herefordshire.
During the trial the court heard that the signalman mistakenly believed that a train may have passed the level crossing having been distracted by a telephone call from a farmer who was trying to walk his sheep cross the railway line at a different location. Whilst making improvements to the level crossing Network Rail had failed to install an automatic barrier locking system due to its expense.
Network Rail was fined £450,000.00 and the signalman was fined £1,750.00 and ordered to perform 275 hours of unpaid work. Both parties were also ordered to pay costs to the prosecution.
Since the start of 2013 other fatalities have occurred in the UK when vehicles were struck by trains at level crossings.
Incidents such as these have very serious implications for organisations and their staff but, more importantly, have life-long consequences for families and loved ones.
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