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Fri May 14 2021

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Three fined after death of demolition worker

28 Aug 20 Fines totalling more than a quarter of a million pounds have been handed down after the death of a demolition worker on the Isle of Wight.

The house being demolished
The house being demolished

Three construction companies were involved in the incident which occurred during the demolition of a relatively simple two-storey building in Ryde, ahead of redevelopment.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard how David Shayler, an employee of Ryde Demolition Limited, was removing roof timbers by hand with a colleague, when a gable wall partially collapsed causing him to fall backwards striking his head against a stack of roof tiles.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred on the 13th October 2016, found that the work was inadequately planned and managed by all the duty holders involved in the project. The technique used to remove the roof timbers was done out of sequence and the brick gable had been left unstable. In addition, inadequate provision was made to prevent falls from height, despite concerns raised by workers in the days leading up to the incident.

Ryde Demolition Ltd of St Johns Hill, Ryde pleaded guilty to breaching two counts of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,132.02.

HJ Bennett Ltd of Pyle Street, Newport pleaded guilty to breaching two counts of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,057.62.

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Stoneham Construction Limited of St Johns Place, Newport pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015. It was fined £56,667 and ordered to pay costs of £12,004.42.

HSE inspector Dominic Goacher said after the case: “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the companies’ failure to implement safe systems of work.

“Demolition is a high-risk activity whose safe execution is complex and technical and where expertise is vital. The risk of unintended structural collapse is well known within the industry. Demolition requires careful planning and execution by contractors who are competent in the full range of demolition techniques.”

“Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country, and the risks associated with working at height are well known. In this case the risks of structural collapse and falling from height were not controlled, which led to the preventable death of a father-of-two.”

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