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Balfour Beatty fined £333k after worker crushed

Balfour Beatty and London Underground have been fined £433,000 after a worker suffered life-changing injuries when his pelvis was crushed in an incident at Whitechapel station.

London Underground was hit with a £100,000 penalty and Balfour Beatty Rail Ltd was fined £333,000 after pleading guilty to breaking health and safety laws, in a prosecution brought by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

According to the ORR’s report, Adrian Rascarache, 36, was struck by a road rail vehicle and his lower body crushed between it and the platform edge at Whitechapel in the early hours of 4 June 2016.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard that, despite London Underground and Balfour Beatty being aware of the risks of workers guiding road rail vehicles by walking along the track in front of the machine, there was no safe system of work put in place that night to address the risk.

The ORR said a decision had been taken not to adopt a procedure called ‘send and receive’, which eliminated the need for people to walk between machines, as it was considered a slower method of working.

The regulator also found that on the night of Mr Rascarache’s injury, workers were not given the required safety briefings before starting their shift, as the signing-in procedure had been deliberately bypassed.

HM chief inspector of railways Ian Prosser said: “Today’s sentence sends a clear message that the health and safety of workers must not be compromised.

“In this instance, corners were cut as a response to perceived time pressure. This is unacceptable and resulted in the terrible injuries suffered by Mr Rascarache.

“The safety of workers is an absolute priority for the ORR and we will take appropriate action against organisations or individuals when failings are found.” 

A Balfour Beatty spokesperson said: “Balfour Beatty deeply regrets this incident and the serious harm caused to a member of our workforce.

“The safety of our workforce and the public is always our primary concern. Balfour Beatty has since taken appropriate corrective action to take the lessons learnt from this incident in 2016 and share them across our business.”

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