Unite, the UK’s biggest union, has called for the Health and Safety Executive to conduct a full and prompt investigation into the tragic death today (Thursday) of a construction worker on the Queensferry Crossing over the Firth of Forth.
Unite understands that the worker, who was employed by the Forth Crossing Road Consortium, was working a spider crane when the incident occurred. The 60-year-old man is understood to have been hit by the moving boom shortly after midday on the deck of the north tower. His death is thought to be the first fatality at the site where work began in 2011.
The union offered its profound condolences to the man’s family, saying that this was another reminder, coming as it did on International Workers’ Memorial Day, that construction remains one of the most dangerous industries in the UK.
Pat Rafferty, Unite’s Scottish secretary, said: “Our thoughts are with the deceased’s family to whom we offer our profound condolences.
“Once again, 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, on International Workers’ Memorial Day, when we remember those who have perished at work, this loss is especially poignant.
“We call on the Scottish Health and Safety Executive to thoroughly investigate what has happened here."
Bernard MacAulay, Unite's national officer for the construction sector added: “Thirty-five construction workers lost their lives last year and there were over 65,000 reported workplace incidents that led to ill-health. That means that around one in four of those who lose their life at work is a construction worker. This is just unacceptable.
"Lessons must be learned because workers must be confident that they are working in safety, especially in construction which is already one of the most dangerous occupations in this country.
“There can never be any corners cut where health and safety is concerned. We need an urgent investigation into this tragic death at Queensferry, but it is crucial that trade unions play a part in that process of establishing the facts.”
Work on the £1.4 billion crossing has been stopped for investigations to take place. The bridge – ordered because of corrosion to a main cable over the existing Forth Road Bridge – is due for completion by the end of the year.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
across the UK
142 workers were killed at work in 2014/15 – the last year that full figures are available.
For more information contact: Douglas Beattie on douglas.beattie@unitetheunion or 07815 703617
Alternatively contact the Unite press team on 020 3371 2065.
Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with 150,000 members across the economy. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.