Press releases

Gwili Railway Company Ltd fined £18,000 after volunteer injured in fall from height

7 September 2023
Gwili Railway Company Ltd has been fined £18,000 after pleading guilty to one offence under the Work at Height Regulations 2005, which followed an investigation and prosecution by industry regulator the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).
Cover Image
Steam locomotives at a heritage railway

The incident involving a volunteer for heritage-train operator Gwili Railway Company Ltd happened on 16 June 2022 at the company’s Llwyfan Cerrig Yard.

During a task to pull tent fabric over a frame erected over two railway coaches, the volunteer slipped and fell from the roof of a Mark 1 coach to the ground. The volunteer suffered a broken right leg which required an operation and several days’ stay in hospital.

A Prohibition Notice was served by an ORR inspector on 28 June 2022 following this incident.

ORR’s investigation found that there was a lack of planning, management and supervision of the specific task, that no measures had been put in place to protect against a fall from the carriage roof and that none of the volunteers had competence in working at height. ORR also stated that a ladder used by the volunteer to climb onto the carriage roof was in poor condition and not fit for use.

The work activity was carried out over several days and, as a consequence, the risk of falling from height was present for a sustained period; several volunteers and one employee of the company were exposed to this risk.

Ian Prosser, HM Chief Inspector of Railways, said:

“Working at height accidents are too frequent in the heritage sector and Gwili Railway Company Ltd is fortunate its inadequate measures did not result in more serious injury.

“We strongly encourage each company to ensure that work activities involving work at height are properly planned to ensure the risk of harm is minimised.” 

Notes to editors

  1. The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) is the independent economic and safety regulator for Britain’s railways and scrutinises the performance and efficiency of England’s strategic road network.
  2. Gwili Railway Company Ltd operates a heritage railway, known as Gwili Railway, in south west Wales.
  3. Gwili Railway Company Ltd was convicted of contravening Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was therefore guilty of an offence contrary to Section 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
  4. Gwili Railway Company Ltd has been issued a fine of £18,000, after being given a third reduction for an early guilty plea and a further reduction for other mitigating factors. They were also ordered to pay ORR’s full costs of £18,557.32.