Firm admits blame over teen’s dockyard death

TRAGIC LOSS ... teenage engineer Jason Burden.

TRAGIC LOSS ... teenage engineer Jason Burden.

A COMPANY has admitted blame after a teenager from South Tyneside was killed while at work at a dockyard.

Engineer Jason Burden, 19, from Fox Avenue, South Shields, died after a piece of metal machinery weighing almost a tonne fell on him at South Docks in Sunderland, in December 2011.

Tyne Slipway and Engineering was charged after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive, and directors from the firm appeared at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday.

Dominic Adamson, representing the firm, entered a guilty plea to a charge of failing to discharge a duty on its behalf.

Despite colleagues and emergency services desperately trying to help the apprentice engineer at the scene, he was pronounced dead at hospital.

One worker who was there when the tragedy happened told investigators he had been talking to Jason, who was working on a piece of equipment called a thruster, in the moments before the accident.

He said: “I looked away briefly from Jason.

“I then heard a bang. I looked at Jason and the thruster had gone over towards him. It was lying on his left leg and stomach.”

The worker said he then desperately tried to free his friend. Stephen Uttley, prosecuting, told the court Jason managed to get to his feet, despite being so badly hurt.

He said: “He was assisted by others and helped to his feet and moved forward but then collapsed, falling backwards onto the floor.

“All the men responded in a very quick and prompt fashion. They did everything they could to assist Mr Burden.”

CCTV cameras captured what happened. The footage will not be played in open court.

A post-mortem examination showed Jason, who had worked for the company for four years and had a long list of qualifications, had died from chest and abdominal injuries.

Jason, who went to Lord Blyton Primary School at Wenlock Road, South Shields, and South Shields Community School, at Nevinson Avenue, was a keen footballer who turned out in goal for FC Simonside as well as being a promising DJ, who played sets at venues including the former Brigantine pub in Ferry Approach, South Shields.

* The hearing continues.


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