£965,000 fine for companies after painter falls through station roof

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 in January 2015.

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 in December 2014, 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 7th January 2015 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.

The companies were fined after admitting charges under Section 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 UK’s rail regulator and strategic roads monitor for England.  The companies were also ordered to pay costs of £7,157.00.

Johnny Schute, Deputy Director, Policy, Strategy and Planning, Office of Rail and Road 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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