CHECKS MADE - SUPERVISOR TELLS INQUEST.
A SUPERVISOR in charge of a dock where a worker was crushed to death by a falling anchor has said he didn't realise his colleague was unqualified.
Patrick Keane told an inquest he had made checks with the safety department of A&P Tees who assured him Kevin Watson had his certificates to work as a slinger and banksman.
However, following the incident it was discovered that despite Mr Watson being regarded by superiors and colleagues as one of the most experienced and able in slinging, he was only qualified as a crane driver.
Dad-of-two Mr Watson had been part of a team working to lay an anchor on the Sand Heron ship down flat. The inquest heard that the 47-year-old had been directing the slingers on the operation as the banksman.
Giving evidence on day three of the hearing at Teesside Coroner's Court, Mr Keane, a supervisor on February 11, 2009 - the day of the tragedy - said he had previously asked questions of Mr Watson's certificates during his eight months with the company.
He said: "I asked the safety department at the time, we all thought 100% that Kevin was a qualified slinger/banksman."
Assistant deputy coroner Sam Faulkes asked him: "What is your understanding about that now with the evidence we have heard over the last couple days?" Mr Keane replied: "It was a grey area and unfortunately looking at it now we would say he wasn't."
He added that in hindsight despite Mr Watson's abilities he would not have allowed him to take on either role in the dock.
Mr Keane said: "Even though he was more than capable, that's why I gave him the job, looking back and on reflection if I had known he didn't have a slinging certificate I wouldn't have put him in the dock as slinger/ banksman. I would say Mr Watson was perhaps more experienced than some of the people who were qualified."
ACCIDENT TRAGEDY: Kevin Watson, left, died after he was crushed by a falling anchor at work. A supervisor has told an inquest into his death that he thought Mr Watson was qualified to work as a slinger and banksman