Maintenance contractor death probed by HSE

The Health and Safety Executive is launching a probe into the death of a 79-year-old maintenance contractor at a cliff railway in Torquay.

It said the unnamed man died on 4 September while carrying out track maintenance duties at Babbacombe Cliff Railway, Devon.

A joint investigation was launched with Devon & Cornwall Police, which the HSE said it would now lead.

Devon & Cornwall Police said in a statement that the matter had been referred to HSE, which would assist police enquiries.

HSE principal inspector Trevor Lowe said: “We will draw upon the evidence gathered so far to determine the cause of this tragic incident.

“During the investigation, we will continue to keep in touch with the family of the deceased, as we send them our deepest sympathies at this difficult time.”

The railway, which links the town with Oddicombe Beach, has been closed since the incident. It was built in the late 1920s.

A statement by the community interest company that runs the railway said: “All of us at the railway are devastated by the death of a dearly loved engineer yesterday in a tragic accident unrelated to the operation of the railway.

“We are fully cooperating with the HSE and no further comment will be made.”

Earlier this month, two contractors were told to consider how learning from previous incidents is incorporated into planning future work, site inspections and safety processes after a rail maintenance operative suffered “life changing” injuries when a stationary mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) was hit by a crane.

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