Following an investigation and prosecution by The Office of Rail and Road, WH Malcolm Ltd, who operate Daventry International Freight Terminal near Rugby, have been fined £6.5m after being found guilty of negligence after an 11-year-old boy died in 2017.
We reported earlier this month that they were found guilty and the company were sentenced at Northampton Crown Court on the 30th of July.
In June 2017, Harrison Ballantyne gained access to the depot to retrieve a football and climbed on top of a freight wagon, and received an electric shock from the overhead cables.
Despite the paramedic’s efforts, Harrison was pronounced dead at the scene.
WH Malcolm was charged with, and found guilty of, two offences under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 — failing to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in their employment were not exposed to risks to their health and safety through the conduct of their undertaking — and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 — failing to undertake a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of persons not in their employment.
The court heard how WH Malcolm was often found to be “placing freight wagons under the electrified lines for prolonged periods of time”
In sentencing, the company Judge HHJ Lucking QC condemned WH Malcolm and said: “In contesting this trial the defendant failed to take responsibility for a serious and obvious failing to allow public access to what is and was a dangerous environment.”
Ian Prosser, Chief Inspector of Railways said: “Our thoughts remain with Harrison’s family and friends.
“It is only right that WH Malcolm is held to account for failing to prevent unauthorised access and for failing to manage the risks in what should have been an entirely avoidable tragedy.
“The railway industry has done some excellent work in preventing trespass and educating children about the risks, but this case serves as a reminder that should access to the railway not be properly controlled, serious events like this occur.”
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