A MARINE engineering firm has been fined after a teenage apprentice was crushed and killed.

Jason Burden, 19, from South Shields, was in his fourth year as an apprentice engineer at Tyne Slipway & Engineering, Sunderland, when a one tonne tunnel thruster overturned and landed on top of him.

At the time he was reassembling the machine on a work bench when it toppled on to his torso and left leg, causing fatal crush injuries.

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An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had not taken sufficient steps to ensure it was safe to work on or near.

It also found there was no documented risk assessment for working on the machine while it was positioned on the work bench.

Following sentencing at Newcastle Crown Court, Mr Burden's father Trevor said: "We would like to thank the HSE and inspector Paul Miller for bringing Tyne Slipway to court and prosecuting them for breaching health and safety law that ended in the death of our beautiful son Jason.

"Jason was the most loving, caring, hard working and funny lad that you could ever wish to meet. His death has left a huge hole in all our lives.

"We are all heartbroken over his death and the pain is unbearable."

The incident, which took place in December 2011, could have been prevented had the tunnel thruster been securely strapped or bolted to supports fixed to the workbench.

HSE inspector Paul Miller said: "Jason Burden was a talented and hard working young man. His death could easily have been avoided if his employer had properly considered the risks associated with the repair of the tunnel thruster and then ensured that steps were taken to guarantee the stability of the tunnel thruster while on the work bench."

Tyne Slipway and Engineering was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £47,936.57 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching a section of the Health and Safety Act.