Three construction firms given fines totalling £256k

Three construction companies have been given fines after a worker suffered fatal injuries while demolishing a two-storey building.

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, Portsmouth Crown Court was told.

The HSE’s investigation found that all the work had been inadequately planned and managed by all the duty-holders involved in the project, the technique used to remove the roof timbers wasn't done in accordance with the method statement, and the gable end had been left unstable. In addition, inadequate safety provision was made to prevent falls from height, despite concerns raised by workers in the days leading up to the incident.

The incident occurred in October 2016.

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

HJ Bennett Ltd based in Pyle Street, Newport have pleaded guilty to breaching two counts of Section 3(1) of the HASAWA  and were fined £120k and ordered to pay costs of £12,057.62.

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

Speaking outside court, HSE Inspector Dominic Goacher said: “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 is one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this England, 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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