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Topic Title: Potter's Bar Rail Crash
Topic Summary: What does the £3M fine mean?
Created On: 13 May 2011 05:12 PM
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 13 May 2011 05:12 PM
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dvaidr

Posts: 519
Joined: 08 June 2003

Very little to me. Something in the region of £100M might have been just enough. That said, how do you compensate those who have lost loved ones.

Corporate Manslaughter couldn't be used in this case. In future, it should be.
 13 May 2011 05:23 PM
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OMS

Posts: 19591
Joined: 23 March 2004

Well essentially the judge was fining the public purse - without individuals in the dock what would be the point in increasing the fine substantially.

That said, the incident killed a fraction of the travelling public who die every year so to start asking questions about what price life is a little emotional in my opinion.

Regards

OMS

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Failure is always an option
 13 May 2011 06:10 PM
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dvaidr

Posts: 519
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So the next time I'm assessing safety integrity levels, I leave the likelihood of fatalities and serious injury out of the equation?
The corporate manslaughter couldn't be used and a fine just hurts the public purse, so we do nothing?
As Professional Engineers, we have to take the onus for safety of personnel and public. So what do we do now? Start stacking shelves in Tesco?
 13 May 2011 06:33 PM
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OMS

Posts: 19591
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So the next time I'm assessing safety integrity levels, I leave the likelihood of fatalities and serious injury out of the equation?


You couldn't if you want a SIL

As Professional Engineers, we have to take the onus for safety of personnel and public.


Well I guess the response to that is the classic "Do engineers owe a duty to the wider public"

Perhaps a read through some of the works by Professor John Uff CBE QC might be of interest

And I wouldn't go upsetting the shelf stackers at Tesco - they way things are going at the moment there might just well be a few engineers glad of that job

Regards

OMS

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 13 May 2011 06:39 PM
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dvaidr

Posts: 519
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I don't follow. I'm not bright enough.
 13 May 2011 07:28 PM
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OMS

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Ohh I think you do

OMS

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 13 May 2011 10:04 PM
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peteTLM

Posts: 3141
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If the crash had happened 20m sooner it would have taken out EDF at metropolitan house.

There was a programme made on the crash a few years ago where a journalist got a job with railtrack on the same line and took secret footage of the state of the track. It wasnt good news. Bolts were left out and bit of points broken. All the work was done by sub contractor of a sub contractor and so on. The chain of supervision and safety got very muddy by the time it reached the people actually doing the work.
I believe they changed the guidelines after the programme limiting the amount of levels of sub contraction possible to try and keep a handle on the problem.

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 14 May 2011 05:25 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: peteTLM
Bolts were left out and bit of points broken. All the work was done by sub contractor of a sub contractor and so on. The chain of supervision and safety got very muddy by the time it reached the people actually doing the work. I believe they changed the guidelines after the programme limiting the amount of levels of sub contraction possible to try and keep a handle on the problem.

Maybe some of those who did such poor work should have been in the dock as well.

Regards.
 14 May 2011 06:18 PM
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dvaidr

Posts: 519
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Originally posted by: westonpa

Originally posted by: peteTLM

Bolts were left out and bit of points broken. All the work was done by sub contractor of a sub contractor and so on. The chain of supervision and safety got very muddy by the time it reached the people actually doing the work. I believe they changed the guidelines after the programme limiting the amount of levels of sub contraction possible to try and keep a handle on the problem.


Maybe some of those who did such poor work should have been in the dock as well.



Regards.


Definitely. Culpability must be identified and penalties imposed. The charge of manslaughter must be used as and when necessary.
 16 May 2011 08:00 AM
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AndyTaylor

Posts: 164
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I think the mother of one of those killed had a fair point when she said that as a taxpayer she was effectively being fined for her own daughter's death. An insignificant amount per person of course, but the principle is poor.

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Andy Taylor CEng MIET
 17 May 2011 04:55 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

From Judge Bright's comments: "In reality...every pound of any fine will be one pound that cannot be spent on railway safety." http://www.thelawpages.com/cou...ructure-Ltd-6822-1.law

If Network Rail had put no measures in place to prevent deaths like this happening again then the situation would be very different. But hopefully anyone who has been anywhere near NR maintenance (since this incident in particular) will know that massive changes have been put in place. (I do not work for Network Rail, but I do work with their maintenance regimes, and I am far happier travelling by train now than I was in 2002.)

That is not to say that there were not individuals or organisations who some may consider more culpable in this case. However, they were not the ones in the dock.

So to answer the question: the fine means that a particular organisation was shown to have inherited responsibility from its predecessor for a series of senior organisational failings that occured 9 years ago with an almost or totally completely different senior management team.

Personally I would be far more interested in findings that show whether it is likely to happen again. Whether I would feel the same if I had lost a relative or friend in the crash is impossible to know for sure, I can only hope that I would.

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Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
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