Widow of pedestrian killed by tram reacts after company fined £240,000

Mrs Correa welcomed the decision, but added the outcome will not bring her 'beloved' husband back.

Widow of pedestrian killed by Edinburgh tram reacts after company fined £240,000 Supplied

The widow of the first pedestrian to be killed by a tram in Edinburgh has reacted after the firm was fined £240,000 over his death.

Carlos Correa Palacio, a bus driver, was fatally struck on a tram crossing in the Saughton area on September 11, 2018, while making his way home from work.

The tram driver first saw Mr Correa 73 metres from the crossing – when the vehicle was 53 metres from the crossing, the driver sounded his bell and began to slow the tram.

He sounded the bell three more times over the next 27 metres.

The driver applied the emergency brake approximately 18 metres from the tram crossing, causing the tram warning horn to automatically sound.

Mr Correa had not been aware of the tram until it was too late to get out of its way.

On Thursday, Edinburgh Trams Limited pled guilty to a breach of health and safety legislation at Edinburgh Sheriff Court and was fined £240,000.

Reacting, widow Mrs Correa said: “I would like to place on record, my thanks to the Crown Office for delivering justice in the face of Edinburgh Trams initial reluctance to accept blame.

“Whilst their guilty plea, after five years, is welcomed, it will not bring back my beloved Carlos. He paid the ultimate price for Edinburgh Trams’ failure.

“My only hope is that this criminal conviction will ensure there is no reoccurrence of such a needless tragedy. I’d never want anyone else to suffer the devastation and pain of such a loss.”

The advocate depute told the court that there had been no assessment of the foreseeable risk to pedestrians at the Saughton Mains crossing from an approaching tram prior to this incident.

A criminal investigation found Edinburgh Trams Limited had failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the layout of the crossing, and to ensure that it provided sufficient notice and warning to pedestrians of the crossing itself.

The company had failed to assess the loudness of audible warning devices on Edinburgh trams, or the emergency braking distances of trams approaching the crossing in order to identify and implement adequate control measures to address these hazards.

The absence of any written risk assessment was made worse by a failure to regularly review – which meant the original error went unnoticed.

A near-miss incident at the same crossing in November 2016 was reported, but failed to result in any action in relation to the risk assessment.

The investigation found there were no issues with the tram driver’s driving and that he had responded to the situation in accordance with his training. The tram was in working order and the braking system was functional.

Speaking after the sentencing, Debbie Carroll, who leads on health and safety investigations for the COPFS, said:  “Carlos Correa lost his life in circumstances which could have been avoided had the risks been recognised and appropriate control measures put in place. 

“Edinburgh Trams Limited’s failure to assess the risks posed to pedestrians using the crossing resulted in Mr Correa’s death.

“This prosecution should remind duty holders that a failure to manage and implement effective measures can have fatal consequences and they will be held accountable for this failure.

“Our thoughts are with Mr Correa’s family at this difficult time.”

Jayne Crawford, solicitor for Mrs Correa, said: “Mr Correa’s widow has shown great dignity in the face of initial attempts by Edinburgh Trams to deflect blame onto her late husband.

“This tragic death could have happened to any member of the public as today Edinburgh Trams accepted; they had failed on multiple counts to provide a safe public service over a four-year period.”

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