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CROSS Safety Report

Plasterwork ceiling partial collapse at railway station

Report ID: 587 Published: 1 October 2016 Region: CROSS-UK

This report is over 2 years old

Please be aware that it might contain information that is no longer up to date. We keep all reports available for historic reference and as learning aids.


A section of a ceiling cornice, plasterboard panel and lighting collapsed at a railway station landing on the floor.

Key Learning Outcomes

For asset owners and managers:

  • Regular inspections and maintenance can help keep structures and elements safe and identify any obvious safety issues

  • The asbestos management plan should be made available to all contractors carrying out works where there is a risk of asbestos being present

For construction professionals:

  • Quality management and competent supervision on site can help to ensure that the structure is built in accordance with the design

  • If there are no asbestos records or management plan on file an asbestos survey should be carried out by a competent contractor prior to any works commencing on site

Full Report

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The Full Report below has been submitted to CROSS and describes the reporter’s experience. The text has been edited for clarity and to ensure anonymity and confidentiality by removing any identifiable details. If you would like to know more about our secure reporting process or submit a report yourself, please visit the reporting to CROSS-UK page.


One morning, a railway employee opened the station as normal and saw a section of the cornice, plasterboard roof and lighting on the floor. The entrance to the ticket office was closed until the debris was cleared and the roof could be made safe. Electricians made the electrical connections safe and a full crash deck was installed just below roof level to ensure the station can be operated and safe access made to the ceiling.

Initial investigations show that the light fixtures were not adequately retained and with only rawlplugs into the plaster. Also, no evidence of damp in this area was witnessed previously. The owner confirmed all maintenance to the guttering has been completed to allow free-flowing drainage.

Contractor awareness heightened as they should have suspected asbestos before works commenced on site. The contractor concerned was briefed on the correct procedures according to the asbestos management plan and the project team completed their own investigation to ensure this does not happen again. This is a busy station, and the impact could have caused an injury during a busy time. Fortunately, it was at night, so no injuries occurred.

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