Network Rail has stopped using hydraulic hoists for railway maintenance in the wake of an accident in Essex which left three workers injured, one critically.
The Rail Maritime and Transport union had urged the firm to withdraw the hoists, which are used as platforms for work on overhead lines, pending an investigation into the incident in Margaretting.
General secretary Bob Crow said: "This was an appalling accident which has left one of our members, only a few months from retirement, fighting for his life, but the tragedy is that it clearly should never have happened.
"Our thoughts are with those who have been injured and their families, but our members are angry that the concerns of those who use these machines were ignored and there is an alarming pattern emerging here.
"We have been warning that safety standards are suffering because of the increasing pressure on Network Rail to save money."
NR said that immediately following the incident earlier this month it withdrew the hydraulic hoists from service, adding: "These units will remain out of service until a full investigation into what caused the accident has been completed."
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David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "Falls from height represent a high proportion of injuries and deaths caused in accidents at work.
"There are specific work regulations governing work at height to try to prevent workers being injured in accidents.
"Employers also have a duty to provide safe plant and work equipment.
"I represent many employees and self employed workers who have been injured or killed in industrial accidents."