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Crane Accident Claims Life on Bridge Site

Monday, May 2, 2016

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A Scottish health and safety agency is investigating the events that led to the death of one worker and injury of one other on the country’s new Queensferry Crossing bridge project.

A 60-year-old construction worker reportedly died after being struck by part of a crane just after noon Thursday (April 28) on the north tower deck of the bridge, according to The Guardian. He was later identified by The Scotsman as John Cousins.

Another worker suffered minor injuries in the incident.

Work has since stopped on the site of the £1.4 billion ($2.05 billion) road bridge, scheduled to open in December, while the Scottish Health and Safety Executive—the national independent watchdog for work-related health, safety and illness—investigates.

This is the first fatality on the new Forth River crossing since the project started five years ago.

Struck-By Accident

A Police Scotland spokesman indicated the station received a call about the incident around 12:20 p.m.

According to UCATT, the U.K. union representing workers in the construction sector, the man was struck by the boom of a crane he was directing.

He was taken by boat to the Hawes Pier at South Queensferry before being transported to the hospital by ambulance, Scottish television station STV reported.

BBC reports indicated the man suffered severe blood loss and was unable to be resuscitated. He was pronounced dead a short time later.

The second unnamed man’s injuries were said not to be life-threatening.

“We are deeply saddened to have to confirm there was an incident just before noon on April 28 on the Queensferry Crossing’s north tower in which a person has lost his life,” a project spokesperson confirmed Thursday.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of our colleague and co-worker at this time.”

UCATT regional secretary Harry Frew said, “UCATT will be doing everything it can to find out how and why this accident occurred, and to ensure that similar fatalities are prevented in the future.”

A total of 1,200 people are actively working on the bridge site at this time, but more than 10,000 have been involved throughout the construction process, STV noted.

Poignant Workers’ Memorial Day

Pat Rafferty, regional secretary of Unite Scotland—an industry-based union dedicated to protecting workers rights and improving the quality of life through employer and government negotiations—stated, “on today of all days, on International Workers’ Memorial Day, when we remember those who have perished at work, this loss is especially poignant.”

Established by the AFL-CIO in 1970, Workers' Memorial Day is observed every year on April 28. It serves as a day to honor workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work, as well as to highlight the preventable nature of most workplace incidents.

According to OSHA, which was established exactly one year later (April 28, 1971), it also serves as a day to “acknowledge the grievous suffering experienced by families and communities, and to recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers.”

Marking the international Workers Memorial Day, HSE’s interim Chair George Brechin had issued a statement that day saying, “Workers Memorial Day is a poignant reminder of why it is vital to manage workplace risks in a robust and proportionate way. Everybody has a right to come home safe and well from their job."

Brechin indicated that, although Britain reportedly has one of the best health and safety records in the world, room for improvement remains.

“Last year 142 workers were killed [in Great Britain] and 1.2 million people were suffering with a work-related illness. Getting health and safety right not only protects workers and the public, it can help support productivity, innovation and growth.”

Queensferry Crossing artist's rendering
Transport Scotland

The Queensferry Crossing, shown here in an artist's rendering, is intended to replace the main traffic-carrying elements of the nearby Forth Road Suspension Bridge. The project was prompted by corrosion found on the main suspension cable on the Forth Road Bridge.

The site reopened briefly on Friday morning (April 29) to allow the man's coworkers to "come together and support each other," a project spokesman said told the BBC.

"Everyone on the site has been deeply affected by this tragedy and specialist support is being made available for anyone who needs it," he added.

It was scheduled to close again by 1:00 that afternoon and is scheduled to remain shut down until Tuesday morning, at which time the workers will take a moment to honor their colleague.

About the Crossing

The Queensferry Crossing, also known as the Forth Replacement Crossing, is intended to replace the main traffic-carrying elements of the Forth Road Suspension Bridge. The project was prompted by corrosion found on the main suspension cable on the Forth Road Bridge; built in 1960, the Forth Road Bridge carries the A-90 over the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh.

This bridge structure has an overall length of 2,633 meters (about 8,639 feet), including a cable-supported structure of 2,020 meters (about 6,627 feet—the world’s second longest), according to American Bridge International’s website. The two main navigation spans are 650 meters (about 2,133 feet) each—the world’s sixth longest.

According to Transport Scotland, 30,000 tonnes of steel and 150,000 tonnes of structural concrete will be used in this project.

As reported earlier, during construction steps are being taken to ensure the same corrosion problems that were uncovered on the Forth Road Bridge’s main suspension cables don’t affect its replacement.

Among the reliability features factored into the planning of the Crossing, were the latest, most durable materials: cables that can be replaced more easily than on the Forth Road Bridge; a dehumidification system inside the box girder to reduce moisture and prevent corrosion; and modern paint systems on the structure, Transport Scotland said.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Asia Pacific; Bridges; Cranes; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Fatalities; Health & Safety; Health and safety; Latin America; North America; Safety

Comment from MICHAEL DEATON, (5/2/2016, 5:51 AM)

RIP brother.....

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