A company has been fined £1.4 million after a worker was crushed to death by a Heathrow Express Train motor.
Ian Parker, 58, was killed during routine maintenance of traction motors from Heathrow Express trains on June 13 2017. A 650kg motor fell on him at Siemens Train Care Facility in White City, west London in what has been termed a “tragic accident”.
Siemens Plc pleaded guilty to one charge of contravening a health and safety regulation and was handed the fine at a hearing at the Old Bailey on Tuesday. It was ordered to pay further costs of £99,284.84 to the Office of Road and Rail.
"Mr Parker was working at the premises of the defendant company, Siemens Plc, when a 650kg traction motor fell on him and killed him”, said Judge Anuja Dhir KC. "This was an accident which the defendant ought to have prevented."
Mr Parker had been working as a self-employed contractor at the time of his death and was part of a heavy overhaul team at the depot.
His team had been tasked with removing several traction motors for routine refurbishment from electrically powered trains operating on the Heathrow Express. The traction motors were to be lifted by a crane, with the motor connected to a bogie frame by four mounting bolts held in position by mounting sleeves.
The court heard that the mounting bolts, the mounting sleeves and safety plates should not have been removed until after the crane had taken the weight of the motor. However, it was “highly likely” that Mr Parker removed the bolts immediately before the incident, said Judge Dhir. He was in an inspection pit below when the motor fell.
Siemens Plc has two previous convictions dating back to 2009 and 2014 for similar incidents, one of which resulted in the death of an employee and the other in a broken ankle. However, Judge Dhir said that both of these incidents occurred in the defendant’s wind power division, with no previous convictions relating to its rail operation department.
The company accepted responsibility for its failings, arguing that it had taken steps to rectify the issues which led to Mr Parker’s death. Effective health and safety procedures had also been put in place, as supported by Judge Dhir.
Mr Parker is survived by his two sons, three grandchildren and daughter-in-law, Heather Parker, who issued a statement on behalf of the family. "Our father was literally crushed to death. We couldn’t even say our goodbyes to him. The funeral directors advised us not to see him as he was so disfigured”, Mrs Parker said.
"It was two months before we were allowed to have the funeral. Our lives have never been the same. We miss him terribly."
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