One Oban father says his son’s life could have been saved if only “one person did their job right” in the days and weeks prior to his death in a crane accident.
Jamie Kerr, 25, was working on a fish farm in Loch Spelve near Craignure on the Isle of Mull when the tragedy struck on April 30, 2015.
A sheriff has now decided that the young skipper’s death could have been avoided if the right kit had been used on the crane that fell on him and killed him.
The Inverlussa Marine Services employee was supervising a 20-year-old deckhand unloading the last net from the Carol Anne when the crane suddenly collapsed.
Ready father shows frustration at work practice
Mr Kerr’s father, John Kerr of Connel, Oban, believes that an additional check of the equipment should have taken place.
He said, “If even one person had done their job right, it probably wouldn’t have happened.
“If you received the wrong size screws, this should have been questioned.
“It could have been a little more questioned, they shouldn’t have just gone on with what they got, especially with a large chunk of machinery mounted on a boat.”
The investigation describes the circumstances of a tragedy
He spoke after the publication of an investigation into fatal accidents that took place at Oban Sheriff Court.
At the time of the accident, Mr. Kerr was standing next to deckhand Jack Young.
The FAI results state: “Jack Young heard a loud loud bang and watched the crane collapse in their direction. Jack Young ran aft to the wheelhouse and Jamie Kerr ran in the opposite direction to the bow. Mr. Kerr was hit by the crane boom and attached to the bow ramp. “
Sheriff Patrick Hughes has determined that the accident was caused by the failure of the bolts that were used to secure the crane.
They failed because the mounting kit for the crane that was incorrectly ordered and delivered was the wrong size.
He decided that death could have been avoided if the crane had been installed with the correct mounting kit and if the person who ordered the mounting kit, James Donaghue, who handled the crane sales on behalf of Atlas UK, checked which crane rather than making an assumption.
The finding also states that death could have been avoided if crane supplier Atlas UK had issued the correct kit despite the incorrect request for the wrong size.
Safety probe required
Contributing to the accident were defects in work systems, which included Atlas UK, which did not have a system to ensure that the correct adjustment kit was issued.
The supplier has not provided customers with information on the appropriate kit for installing cranes.
Now the sheriff is calling for an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive.
He recommends that the health and safety officer initiate an investigation into how sixth grade locknuts that were mistakenly classified as superior (eight) “entered the supply chain”. and whether there remains “an ongoing risk” to safety.
The crane was installed by Oban-based company PMG Services, which did not comment after the FAI.
Death “devastated” colleagues
An Atlas spokesperson said, “On behalf of Atlas Cranes, we have read Sheriff Hughes’ resolution and are reviewing the results. We offered our condolences to all of Mr. Jamie Kerr’s family and friends during the FAI.
“After that accident in 2015, we immediately reviewed our practices and processes, as confirmed in the finding. We hope the entire industry will learn from Mr. Kerr’s death and we extend our condolences again to his family and friends. “
Ben Wilson, General Manager of Inverlussa Marine Services said, “Everyone at Inverlussa was devastated by the tragic death of a popular employee, Jamie Kerr.
“The safety and well-being of our employees have top priority at all times. We have worked fully with the FAI and we applaud the sheriff’s results. “