Queensferry Crossing worker’s death ‘a freak accident’, inquiry told

The accident happened during construction work on the Queensferry Crossing
The accident happened during construction work on the Queensferry Crossing

A fatal accident inquiry into the death of a construction worker on the Queensferry Crossing has heard that the man may have died as a result of a “freak accident”.

John Cousin was on the bridge deck when he was struck by a crane boom extension weighing 550kg on the north tower deck of the bridge last April.

The inquiry, which got underway at Stirling Sheriff Court on Monday, heard that the 62-year-old died from a chest injury

The crane in question was out of action at the time due to a burst hose that was leaking hydraulic oil.

Fitter Stewart Clark was brought out to the bridge to help fix the machine and was working on it alongside Mr Cousin, who was employed by Galliford Try Employment Ltd and had been seconded to work for Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) as a leading hand foreman.

The court was told the extension to the crane’s boom - the fly jib - was secured to the boom by two large metal pins, one at the cab end and another in the middle.

The accident happened as Mr Cousin was repairing the crane.

Yesterday the court heard from detective sergeant Robert Williamson from Police Scotland’s major investigations team.

He read from a report based on statements taken from witnesses to the accident, including site engineer with responsibility for health and safety, Fraser McIntyre.

Mr McIntyre said: “I could see one of the pins for the fly jib hanging free and the other was lying on the ground.

“It seemed like a bit of a freak accident to me because both pins should not have been removed. I think if only one pin had been removed the jib would still be secure.

“I don’t even know why John would even be there. I think it would be in his nature to give a hand.”

The inquiry heard the accident happened at around 11.30am and Mr Cousin was quickly evacuated from the bridge by boat.

He was declared dead about an hour later after medics attempted CPR after finding no pulse or breathing.

The inquiry, before Sheriff William Gilchrist, continues.

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