- Press notices
Competent person failed to properly inspect railway locomotive boiler
24 May 2010
A jury at Chichester Crown Court found Anthony Sidney Reen guilty of serious breaches of health and safety obligations following a successful prosecution brought by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).
Mr Reen who worked as a boiler inspector / competent person and traded as Steaming for Pleasure, has been fined £750 and ordered to pay £1500 costs.
ORR’s prosecution followed a complaint from the owner of a steam locomotive, who bought it to restore. During the restoration, it was given the guise of ‘Ivor the Engine’ from the children’s television series and was then made available for hire.
Mr Reen inspected the boiler between November 2006 and April 2007, as it needed to pass several safety checks before it could enter service. ORR’s investigation found that when Mr Reen inspected the boiler it was already in a dangerous condition and shouldn’t have been allowed to operate without suitable repairs being carried out, followed by certification by a competent person.
It was Mr Reen’s responsibility as the competent person to ensure a high standard of inspection and not to expose others to potential dangers. Mr Reen failed to discharge these duties.
Commenting on Friday's verdict, ORR’s deputy chief inspector Caroline Wake said: “This was a serious breach of health and safety legislation; had the boiler failed in service then the staff of the hiring heritage railway and members of the public could have been placed at risk – possibly serious risk. The failings of Mr Reen - who was employed as an expert in order to verify the condition of the boiler - put everyone who came into contact with the locomotive at risk, and that is simply unacceptable.
“There is absolutely no room for complacency in health and safety and ORR will not allow staff and public safety to be put at risk. We will continue to press for improvements and take enforcement action - including prosecution - when necessary.
“ORR will continue to work with the heritage sector to ensure that inspections by competent persons are undertaken to the highest standards”.
Notes to editors
- Mr Reen has been found guilty of failing to comply with the duty under section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc 1974 Act.
- Mr Reen has been fined £750 and ordered to pay £1500 costs.
- The defendant was a self-employed boiler inspector and traded under the name Steaming for Pleasure. His specialist field was the examination of railway locomotive and traction engine boilers operating on heritage railways and in other heritage areas.
- After his various inspections through November 2006 to April 2007, Mr Reen gave the boiler a clean bill of health, deeming it fit for service. In August 2007, after being used by several heritage railways, the locomotive failed an examination by one of the hiring heritage railways due to defects with the boiler which Mr Reen did not detect. Steaming for Pleasure subsequently made a further inspection and noted the defects but claimed they were caused by use of the locomotive from May through to August 2007.
- Subsequent examination of the defective areas of the boiler revealed that the firebox inner copper doorplate, which Mr Reen stated was 11.2 to 12.4mm thick, was in fact as thin as 4.2mm in part. This is approximately a third of the thickness detailed on the inspection report given to the owner. Further, some of the copper stayheads on the firebox side had lost up to 80% of their ‘heads’. Grooving (erosion) at foundation ring level on the steel doorplate was approximately 50% and had not been reported upon. Finally, there was a failure to properly examine all of the boiler fixtures and fittings.
ORR press office
- 020 7282 2007/2094