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Stafford rail worker in "serious" condition after trench collapse

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: July 08, 2014

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A STAFFORD railway worker remains in a serious condition in hospital after a trench collapsed onto him at Network Rail's depot in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The 49-year-old man suffered crushing chest injuries, including a punctured lung, as well a back and pelvis injuries when the three-metre long trench he was working in collapsed around him, trapping him up to his chest. Police and health and safety experts are now investigating the cause of the incident.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to the incident near to the Network Rail depot on Brunswick Terrace, near Stafford railway station, shortly before 4am on Sunday and sent an ambulance, a paramedic area support officer and a doctor to the scene.

An ambulance service spokesman said: “Crews were called to reports of a man who had become trapped in a hole that he had been working in

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It is believed that the sides of the hole collapsed around him which left him buried up to his chest by soil.

“Crews used a spinal board and specialist equipment to free him from the hole.”

Three fire crews were also called out to help in the rescue, but ambulance staff had managed to free the man before they arrived at the scene.

The ambulance spokesman added: “Once out, medics anaesthetised the man, who was suffering from crushing chest injuries and a back injury, before taking him to University Hospital North Staffordshire.

“The hospital was pre-alerted and medics were on standby awaiting the arrival of the man.”

A British Transport Police (BTP) spokesman said officers were investigating. 

“The incident, which was attended by Staffordshire Police, took place at 3.50am when a worker was standing in a trench which apparently collapsed in on him," the spokesman said.

“The man, aged 49, was taken to hospital where he remains in a serious condition, with injuries to his chest.

“BTP officers are now working to establish the full circumstances of the incident, in conjunction with the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) and Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).

“The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have also been informed.”

Ian Jones, programme manager for Network Rail, the thoughts of colleagues were with the injured man, who has not been named, and his family.

Mr Jones said: “During the early hours of Sunday morning a man was taken to North Staffordshire Hospital with significant injuries after becoming partially trapped in an excavation, dug as part of ongoing work to improve the railway between Stafford and Crewe.

"Our thoughts are with our colleague and his family at this time. Safety on the railway – for those who travel on it and those who work on it – is our priority and we are working with the Office of Rail Regulation as part of a full investigation into this incident.”

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