THE family of a man killed when he was reportedly struck by the boom of a crane during the construction of the new Queensferry Crossing have dug into their own pockets to fund a legal team to take part in a marathon fatal accident inquiry into his death.
John Cousin, 62, was directing the crane on the north tower deck of the new bridge when the incident occurred on April 28, 2016 – International Workers’ Memorial Day.
Tragically, when the incident occurred, Mr Cousin, a banksman, had just taken part in a minute’s silence to honour people around the world who died at work.
Mr Cousin, from Northumberland, suffered severe blood loss and was pronounced dead shortly after emergency services were alerted.
It was already known that crane company the GGR Group, and the consortium that built the £1.35 billion bridge, Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors, would both be represented by QCs at the inquiry, which will start at Stirling Sheriff Court next week.
But solicitor Stuart Cochran told a preliminary hearing yesterday that the family had taken a decision “late in the day” to become involved as well. Mr Cochan told Sheriff Wyllie Robertson: “The family have taken a decision to pay for this themselves. Obviously it’s a very emotive issue for the family.”
Nine days have been set aside for the probe, which will begin next Monday, November 20.
The GGR Group will be represented by health and safety legal expert Peter Gray QC, who represented the local authority in the Glasgow bin lorry FAI, while Murdo Macleod QC, who represented the aircraft manufacturer in the North Sea Super Puma inquiry, will appear for the consortium.
At the time of the accident, Pat Rafferty, the Unite union’s Scottish secretary, offered his “profound condolences” to Mr Cousin’s family.
He added: “A loved one has gone to work and will not return home. That is hard to swallow any day but on today of all days, International Workers’ Memorial Day, when we remember those who have perished at work, this loss is especially poignant.”
David Climie, Transport Scotland’s project director for the bridge, later told the Scottish Parliament that “fundamental health and safety failures” had not been detected.
He said: “The activity that was going on when the fatality occurred was a routine bit of maintenance on a bit of plant that could have been in use on any construction site in the UK.
“That was the biggest frustration to us. Regrettably within our industry that is very often the case – that it’s the everyday mundane things that come and bite you. And that’s deeply regrettable to our whole industry.”
The Crossing was officially opened by the Queen on September 4, fifty-three years to the day after she opened the adjacent Forth Road Bridge.
The inquiry is being held in Stirling as under FAI legislation, inquiries can be held anywhere within a sheriffdom where a death occurred.
Officials are understood to have identified Stirling as having sufficient capacity for the number of lawyers, and others, expected to attend.