The death of a construction worker on the Isle of Wight in 2016 has led to 3 local firms being fined a total of £256,667.
Ryde Demolition, Stoneham Construction and HJ Bennett Ltd have each been fined tens of thousands of pounds and ordered to pay £12,000 costs following the death of 53-year-old David Shayler.
Portsmouth Crown Court has this week heard how Mr 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.
Mr Shayler, a father-of-2 from Ryde, died in Southampton General Hospital just days after the fatal incident at Atkinson House in Newport on 13th October 2016.
Police, the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service and the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service all attended the scene early on the Thursday morning. The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance then airlifted Mr Shayler to Southampton General Hospital, where he was placed on life support. He died just 6 days later as a result of head and neck injuries.
Now, almost 4 years after the fatal incident, Judge Timothy Mousley QC has handed out massive fines.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found 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 2 counts of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and have been fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,132.02.
HJ Bennett Ltd, which is to cease trading, pleaded guilty to breaching 2 counts of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and have been fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,057.62.
Stoneham Construction Limited of St Johns Place, Newport have pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 and have been fined £56,667 and ordered to pay costs of £12,004.42.
Speaking after the case, 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 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.”