Bridge worker struck by crane caused own death

En­gi­neer died af­ter re­mov­ing pin

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - STE­FAN MORKIS smorkis@the­

An en­gi­neer killed by a fall­ing crane while work­ing on the Queen­ferry Cross­ing was re­spon­si­ble for his own death, a fa­tal ac­ci­dent in­quiry (FAI) has ruled.

62-year-old John Cousin from Northum­ber­land was work­ing on the bridge on April 28 2016 when he was hit by part of the crane.

The FAI con­cluded this oc­curred be­cause Mr Cousin had re­moved a cen­tral pin hold­ing a fly jib on to the boom arm of the crane, caus­ing the 550kg jib to fall and hit him on the chest and head.

It also said Mr Cousin’s col­league Stewart Clark was not re­spon­si­ble for the “tragic ac­ci­dent”.

They had been work­ing on the crane to re­pair a leak­ing hy­draulic hose.

One of the pins hold­ing the crane in place had al­ready been re­moved when Mr Cousin took out the cen­tral pin.

Sher­iff W A Gilchrist said he was “not per­suaded” that he re­moved the pin “at the in­sti­ga­tion of, or with the ac­qui­es­cence and knowl­edge of, Stewart Clark”.

His fam­ily, in­clud­ing his wife Gla­dys, daugh­ter Sam and son Jon, said they were dis­ap­pointed at the ver­dict.

A state­ment said: “We are very shocked and dis­ap­pointed in the out­come.

“John was a highly-skilled en­gi­neer and spent 40 years work­ing around the world on large civil en­gi­neer­ing projects so it is very hard to com­pre­hend how this could have hap­pened.

“No one should go to work and never re­turn home to their fam­ily, but sadly this is the re­al­ity we are find­ing so hard to come to terms with.

“John was very proud of his work on the Queens­ferry Cross­ing. He was also very highly re­spected by his col­leagues on this project.

“We made the very tough de­ci­sion to be present through the whole of the fa­tal ac­ci­dent in­quiry so we could lis­ten to all the cir­cum­stances that have re­sulted in such a huge void be­ing left in our fam­ily.

“John had a won­der­fully close bond with his eight-year-old grand­daugh­ter, who nick­named him ‘Papa John’ and will feel his loss greatly. Be­fore his death, he had given her a lit­tle tool box to start teach­ing her prac­ti­cal skills for when she gets older. She loved learn­ing with him and this is some­thing that we will carry on in his me­mory.”

Karyn McPhee, of Slater and Gordon Lawyers, said: “Fi­nally the fam­ily have some answers to the tragic cir­cum­stances that ran up to John los­ing his life.”

Sher­iff Gilchrist rec­om­mended warn­ing la­bels should be at­tached to pivot pins say­ing they should not be re­moved if other pins on the crane have been taken out.

John Cousin had been try­ing to re­pair a hy­draulic leak on the crane.

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