Bridge worker struck by crane caused own death
Engineer died after removing pin
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.