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    "If you've been injured through no fault of your own you could be entitled to compensation. If you're unsure if you could claim, I recommend you call Accident Advice Helpline."

    Esther Rantzen

    Toppling machine led to tragic accident


    A teenage apprentice was tragically killed when a one-tonne piece of machinery toppled onto him as he worked to reassemble it, a court heard.

    Marine engineering firm Tyne Slipway and Engineering Co Ltd (TSECL) was fined £75,000 with £47,936.57 costs after admitting it breached the Health and Safety at Work Act.

    Newcastle Crown Court heard that fourth-year apprentice engineer Jason Burden of South Shields, had been reassembling a 970kg piece of machinery from a ship on a work bench at the firm’s premises in South Dock, Sunderland when the accident happened in December 2011.

    The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said the tunnel thruster – a gearbox and propeller used to help a ship manoeuvre – had overturned and fallen onto to the 19-year-old’s torso and left leg, causing fatal crush injuries.

    Safety steps missed

    The court heard an HSE investigation found that TSECL knew the machinery was only notionally stable, and had not taken enough steps to make sure it was safe to work on, or near.

    The firm had no documented risk assessment or safety management system for working on the machine while it was on a work bench, the HSE found.

    It said securely strapping or bolting the machine to supports fixed to the workbench could have prevented the tragic accident at work.

    Talented young man

    Following the case HSE inspector Paul Miller said Jason Burden was a “talented and hardworking young man”.

    He said Mr Burden’s death could “easily have been avoided” if his employer had properly considered the risks linked to repairing the machine and taken steps to make sure it was stable while on the work bench.

    The inspector added: “The risks associated with the maintenance of machinery must be assessed before work starts, and must take into account forces applied to the machine in order to ensure that appropriate control measures are used to guarantee the stability of the machine.”

    Accident Advice Helpline is a law firm that can help people make compensation claims for serious injuries sustained at the workplace.

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    Date Published: January 23, 2014

    Author: David Brown

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