Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us Click here for details »
Network Rail failed to store explosives that blinded Leigh teen
NETWORK Rail has been rapped for its storage of explosives after a teenage boy blinded himself with detonators he accessed readily at a depot in Leigh.
An Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) investigation, launched after Harvey Rowe, 16, walked through a hole in the fence and found the explosives unsecured in a skip, found failures in the control of detonator storage of at a number of Network Rail sites in Essex.
Inspectors found evidence of poor record keeping and detonators being stored in unsuitable locations, a report released this afternoon, Wednesday, February 27, revealed.
Harvey, of Herschell Road, Leigh, and a 17-year-old were reprimanded and an 18-year-old cautioned for theft in November.
The teen, wanting the detonator box to store BMX tools, tipped its contents onto a pile of unlit rubbish they were using to build a fire without knowing they were explosives.
They exploded when the fire was lit, sending splinters into Harvey’s right eye.
ORR failed to reveal the other Essex sites where safety failures were found.
A ORR spokesperson said: “ORR has now completed its investigation into the storage and disposal of explosives at Network Rail’s premises, which highlighted failures in the control of detonator storage of at a number of sites in Essex.
“ORR inspectors found evidence of poor record keeping, and examples of detonators being stored in unsuitable locations.
“At ORR’s request, Network Rail has taken immediate action to rectify these failings and ensure it complies with legal requirements to protect the safety of workers and members of the public.
“At this time, the regulator will not take further enforcement action, however ORR inspectors will closely monitor safety management arrangements at Network Rail’s depots and will not hesitate to take action if further failings are identified.”
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Safety is our number one priority. We run one of the safest railways in Europe and incidents such as these are extremely rare.
“After this incident we took immediate action to fix the issues found by the Office of Rail Regulation to improve storage, record keeping and security of our equipment.”