Now that the government has finally given HS2 Ltd notice to proceed, construction work on the project is expected to begin by early spring 2021.

In another boost to the industry HS2 Ltd, the body overseeing construction of the new London to Birmingham rail line, has launched a recruitment drive for several hundred extra staff, with at least 300 of those roles being in Birmingham.  This follows last weeks announcement that HS2 has already started the search for contractors for the second phase of the project, seeking ground investigation contractors to work across the northern section of the railway in deals worth up to £250m and lasting up to eight years.

Mark Thurston, chief executive of HS2 Ltd stated: “With many people facing uncertain job security and worried about future prospects in the current crisis, I hope this will be welcome news for anyone seeking a long-term and rewarding career with a company that places health, safety, equality and diversity at the very top of its priority list.  As part of the HS2 team you’ll be shaping British history; transforming our Victorian railways and supporting the regeneration and economic prosperity of towns and cities right along the route.”

This was followed up by Andrew Stephenson, the HS2 minister, stating: “These jobs are a welcome boost for workers across the country at this challenging time, providing the opportunity to play a crucial part in delivering HS2, an integral part of improving connectivity and levelling up our country” and in line with the prime ministers current comments he went on to say “We continue to work with the transport and construction industry to accelerate projects, where safely possible, to kickstart our economy, provide more employment opportunities and drive our recovery as we build out of Covid-19.”

It doesn’t end there as previously reported by ‘theconstructionindex‘:- “an estimated 400,000 supply chain contract opportunities for UK businesses will be created during phase one of HS2, supporting thousands of jobs on site and many more around the country. It is estimated that around 95% of those contract opportunities will be won by UK based businesses and around two thirds of those will be small and medium sized businesses.”

This latest recruitment drive is set to last three months with a range of vacancies being advertised from: from engineering and project management to land, property and procurement. Further details can be found here:  hs2.org.uk/hs2-and-you

The construction sector clearly seems to be facing a turnaround at this time and may well become the focal point in seeing the country through the forecast economic downturn  – make sure that your training is up to date and that you are in a position to benefit, check our course schedule now!

The 13 December 2018 was not a good day for Network Rail, the owner and infrastructure manager of most of Great Britain’s railway network.

The company were convicted of an offence under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and section 33 (1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, after a 14 day trial back in May, although the jury failed to reach a verdict on a second charge under section 2(1)(a) and 33(1)(a) of the 1974 Act.

Passing sentence today HHJ Statman fined Network Rail £200,000 and charged costs to the sum of £86,000.

The event that led to the subsequent investigation surrounding the then signaller Mr Douglas Caddell, aged 65, who suffered serious injury after being struck by a car whilst attempting to close the level crossing gate at East Farleigh Station in Kent, back in April 2015.

The subsequent investigation undertaken by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) identified that Network Rail’s risk assessment was inadequate and failed to provide for the ‘foreseeable risk’ of a driver failing to recognise that the gates were being closed.  As a result Network Rail had failed to protect its employees.

HM Chief Inspector of Railways (Ian Prosser) is quoted as saying:

“Mr Caddell suffered life-changing injuries in this incident and the sentence indicates just how seriously the offence is quite rightly viewed.”

“We are absolutely committed to protecting the health and safety of passengers and railway staff and will not hesitate to take enforcement action or to prosecute when necessary.”

“Network Rail has introduced safety measures at East Farleigh and we would expect to see proper risk assessments made at similar level crossings up and down the country and necessary safety measures taken.”