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    MAJOR CONTRACTOR ERRED ON FRAGILE ROOF RISK

    Firms fine £965,000 after painter fell through waiting room roof

    A major contractor and has been prosecuted for health and safety offences after a painter fell through the ceiling of a a station passenger waiting room in 2015.

    The workmen involved in the incident were given a site induction but were “not briefed on the risk assessment” nor were they “warned about fragile roofs”.

    Risk assessments and briefings

    On 19th April 2018 the Office of Rail and Road (the UK rail regulator for England) issued the following information regarding the prosecution:

    “BAM Nuttall and McNealy Brown were fined £900,000 and £65,000 respectively after they admitted failing to put proper procedures and safeguards in place to prevent painter Paul Welstead falling through a ceiling into a passenger waiting room.

    Mr Welstead, aged 31 at the time of the accident, suffered severe ligament damage and has been unable to return to work as an industrial painter since falling around 10 feet while working at East Croydon railway station on 7 January 2015.

    The companies were fined at Croydon Crown Court on 18 April after admitting charges under S.3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in a prosecution brought by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

    The Court heard that the two companies agreed the £12million contract with Network Rail to undertake the replacement of station floor surfaces, canopy roofs and cladding.

    BAM Nuttall started work in January 2014 and later that year a third company, DRH, was asked by the existing contractors to supply industrial painters to undertake specialist tasks.

    Mr Welstead and a colleague were given a site induction when they arrived for work on 18 December, but, importantly, they were not briefed on the risk assessment, which required work over the platforms to be undertaken at night, for workers to wear full body harnesses and for the waiting room below to be locked.

    Returning to work on 7 January following the Christmas and New Year holiday, Mr Welstead and his colleague were not given another safety briefing, nor were they warned about fragile roofs, and at 9.40am he fell through the unguarded suspended ceiling into the waiting room below.

    Johnny Schute, Deputy Director, Policy, Strategy and Planning, said:

    “The fines handed out today send a powerful message to the industry that the safety of workers on the railways is absolutely paramount, and proper risk assessments and briefings must be carried out and followed.

    The ORR is committed to protecting the safety of workers and passengers and will not hesitate to take enforcement action when and where it is necessary.”

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