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Home » Latest News » Port Talbot Railway Fatalities; what support is Available to Family Members?

Port Talbot Railway Fatalities; what support is Available to Family Members?

Port Talbot Railway Fatalities; what support is Available to Family Members?

It seems likely that an error had occurred in the chain of communication between Network Rail and the Transport Providers involved, so what can the families of these people do?

The tragic story of two UK rail workers being killed by a collision with a train while working on the tracks on Wednesday the 3rd July has shocked the country. British Transport Police were called to the scene on railway tracks near Port Talbot in South Wales but the investigations are likely to take some time.

It seems likely that an error had occurred in the chain of communication between Network Rail and the Transport Providers involved, so what can the families of these people do?

The workers were employees of Network Rail, a company owned by the governments’ Department for Transport; Network Rail maintains the railway tracks across the country, as well as managing the routes. The train involved in the incident was operated by Great Western Railway, a trading style for FTSE 250 organisation FirstGroup who operate on an international level. While there might be a case against FirstGroup, the real onus was on Network Rail to ensure their staff members were protected and that appropriate steps were taken to ensure all train operating companies are compliant and operating in a manner that does not place employees at risk.

This follows reports in April from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch that there had been ‘too many near misses in which railway workers have had to jump for their lives’. They reported that in 2018 there were 164 major injuries on the railways.

The General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, described the deaths as "shocking" when he was interviewed by BBC reporters.

"RMT is attempting to establish the full facts but our immediate reaction is that this is an appalling tragedy and that no-one working on the railway should be placed in the situation that has resulted in the deaths that have been reported".

Compensation may be available to certain members of the families of the deceased men. Whilst appreciating that no monetary award can compensate for the loss of a loved one, on a practical level compensation can assist the bereaved family by replacing the lost earnings of the deceased and other losses such as the cost of services which would normally be provided. Those services can include claims for household maintenance such as decorating and repairs, or for the cost of child care that would have been undertaken by the deceased. There is an award for the bereavement itself and the costs associated with a funeral service can also be claimed.

Partner Kathryn Hudson commented on the incident to say “Any accident at work which results in a worker losing their life has a terrible impact on their families, friends and colleagues. Sadly we deal with many fatal accident cases and the effects are far reaching and of huge regret. Every employee is owed a duty of care by their employer, and they should be provided with a safe place of work and a safe system of work. No worker should be exposed to risk to their health and no family should have to be told that their loved one isn’t coming home from work”.

If you have been affected by an injury in the workplace our team are happy to give a no-obligation consultation, just call up 01472 311 711 to schedule an appointment with our team or send an email to info@bmcf.co.uk.