News
Updated Sep 3, 2020

Isle of Wight worker dies during demolition project

Three construction companies have been fined after a worker suffered fatal injuries while demolishing a two-storey building in preparation for a development project.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard how 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.

Inadequate provision was made to prevent falls from height, despite concerns from workers in the days leading up to the incident.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident on 13 October 2016 found that the:

  • work was inadequately planned and managed by all the duty holders involved in the project;
  • technique used to remove the roof timbers was done out of sequence; and
  • brick gable had been left unstable.

Ryde Demolition Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, were fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,132.02.

HJ Bennett Ltd also pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, were fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,057.62.

Stoneham Construction Limited pleaded guilty to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations SI 2015/51, were fined £56,667 and ordered to pay costs of £12,004.42.

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".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

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