Fatal Accident at Work

The RMT union says it will look to the Office of Rail Regulation to prosecute Network Rail after the Chelmsford Coroner’s Court today ruled the horrific death of RMT member Malcolm Slater in June 2008 was ‘accidental’.

The RMT provided representation for Mr Slater’s widow at today’s inquest with support from Thompsons Solicitors. The union sought a ruling of ‘unlawful killing’, arguing that company’s serious breaches of health and safety were a direct cause of Mr Slater’s death.

The 64-year-old Harold Wood resident died as a result of serious injuries to his head and spine which he sustained after falling 15 feet to the ground when the metal basket of a Unimog hoist fell away from its hydraulic arm during work on an overhead line. Mr Slater endured three weeks of agony in hospital before finally succumbing to his injuries.

Required by employers to use defective equipment

Network Rail has previously admitted liability for the accident in civil claims arising from the accident brought by the RMT and Thompsons Solicitors.

Responding to today’s ruling, RMT secretary Bob Crow said:

“Malcolm was a loyal and hardworking member and he had his life taken in the most miserable way as a direct result of Network Rail’s negligence.

“This is an accident that should never have happened, not least because concerns about the adequacy of the weld attaching the basket to its arm had already been raised with Network Rail.

“The RMT wants to see Network Rail held accountable for its negligence so that our members are not put in harm’s way like this again.”

Henrietta Phillips from Thompsons Solicitors added:

“Mr Slater was required by his employers to use defective equipment, which is a breach of the law.

“We’re disappointed with the outcome of the inquest but hopeful that the Office of Rail Regulation will consider taking a criminal prosecution against Network Rail.”