DCSIMG

Family honour tragic teen as they join call to save safety laws

PAYING TRIBUTE ... Jason Burdens parents, Maria and Trevor, with Siobhan Smith, Jasons sister Rachel, grandma Doris Hoy and girlfriend Rachel Conroy. Above, Jason. Below, South Tyneside Mayor, Coun Ernest Gibson, the Rev Paul Kennedy and union chief Merv Butler signing a book of condolence. Below, Jason Burden.

PAYING TRIBUTE ... Jason Burdens parents, Maria and Trevor, with Siobhan Smith, Jasons sister Rachel, grandma Doris Hoy and girlfriend Rachel Conroy. Above, Jason. Below, South Tyneside Mayor, Coun Ernest Gibson, the Rev Paul Kennedy and union chief Merv Butler signing a book of condolence. Below, Jason Burden.

A CAMPAIGNING father has called for under-threat health and safety laws to be preserved – after paying tribute to his teenage son, who was killed in an industrial accident.

Apprentice engineer Jason Burden, 19, of Fox Avenue, South Shields, died when machinery weighing almost a tonne fell on him at South Docks in Sunderland in December 2011.

His parents, Trevor and Marie Burden, both 45, honoured their son at a Trades Union Congress Workers’ Memorial Day event held at Christ Church in Hartlepool yesterday.

They were accompanied by Jason’s girlfriend Rachel Conroy, her mother Siobhan Smith, sister Rachel Burden and grandmother Doris Hoy.

More than 100 people attended the moving ceremony and saw a video showing Jason living life to the full.

Mr Burden called for employers and the Government to ensure health and safety remain top priorities during a speech at the event.

Jason’s employer, Tyne Slipway and Engineering, was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £47,936 at Newcastle Crown Court in January for failing to comply with health and safety legislation.

Campaigners at the memorial event accused the Government of reversing a century of progress in employee protection laws with the introduction of the 2013 Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act.

It repealed laws making employers liable to pay compensation for breaches of health and safety regulations.

By removing civil liability for health and safety breaches, the burden to prove what went wrong will now be on the injured worker or the families of those killed in workplace accidents.

Mr Burden said: “We wanted to come and lay a wreath in memory of Jason.

“The Government is trying to relax health and safety laws, when they should be made more stringent.

“Unions have been campaigning for 100 years to improve safety in the workplace and, just as we are getting it where it needs to be, the Government wants to take it away.

“I have seen paperwork where the Government is saying health and safety is a millstone around the neck of businesses. It’s not a millstone. It is a necessity to protect lives.”

He added: “Jason was someone who lived his life to the absolute full.

“He had so much to live for, and lost everything in a moment that could so easily have been avoided.”

Mrs Burden added: “It has been a very emotional day. It isn’t something we should have to go through, but is important to raise awareness and keep Jason’s memory alive.”

A minute’s silence was observed during the service, with around 30 wreaths laid.

A memorial service was also held at South Shields Town Hall yesterday to mark the day.

The service, led by the Rev Paul Kennedy, of St Michael and all Angels’ Church, in Westoe Road, South Shields, was attended by the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Ernest Gibson, and union representatives.

During the service, 21 candles were lit, symbolising each life lost at work in Tyne and Wear since April 2001.

Coun Gibson said: “This day is an opportunity to remember those people and the many others who have died or been injured as a result of their work.

“It is also an opportunity to remind employers across the world of the importance of safety at work.”

Twitter:@shieldsgazchris

 

Comments

 
 

Back to the top of the page