News item: Accident to rail worker caused by absence of adequate lighting

May 11, 2012

A railway employee who had made repeated complaints to bosses about bad lighting in the railway yard and then fell one night injuring his knee and wrist when he tripped on some abandoned rails, has received a compensation payout for his injuries.

The Ipswich resident had already told his bosses that the particularly bad lighting at the yard was soon going to cause an accident.

The worker was a health and safety representative for the business when the accident happened, but his constant complaints were simply ignored. It was only a couple of weeks afterwards when he was walking through the yard to his job as a train driver when he tripped over on some abandoned rails.

An investigation indicated that even though there were light towers positioned throughout the yard, just one of the sets was actually functioning. In addition, the rails should never had been left in such a place where they were likely to be hazardous.

The railway employee of nearly 30 years standing sustained a soft tissue injury to his wrist and was inflicted with a sprained knee. These injuries meant he had to take some time off work.

Soon after the accident, he made contact with ASLEF, his trade union, because he wanted this health and safety issue rectified.

The employer took responsibility for the hazard and an out of court settlement was reached, which amounted to a compensation claim of 4,900 pounds.

The employee said that as he was the health and safety representative he took this part of his job very conscientiously. He had noted that the obvious lack of lighting brought about a hazardous situation but even though he voiced his concerns they were just ignored.

Mick Whelan, ASLEF General Secretary, was very disappointed that the employer had appointed a health and safety representative but was not prepared to listen to any concerns he prioritised. He said that without good lighting in such areas where the accident occurred, a potentially very serious accident could have taken place.