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1st September 2020

Contractors Fined Combined £250,000 Following Death Of A Site Operative

Three companies have been sentenced for Health and Safety breaches following a fatal incident during the demolition phase of a regeneration project in Newport on the Isle of Wight.


Ryde Demolition Ltd had been appointed to conduct part of the demolition works on a residential redevelopment in 2016.

On 13 October 2016, David Shayler, an employee of Ryde Demolition Ltd, suffered a fatal head injury as he conducted his daily work.

Mr Shayler was removing roof timbers by hand with a colleague when the gable wall of the structure collapsed, leading to debris striking his head and neck.

He died 6 days later in hospital as a result of the injuries sustained.


Stoneham Construction Ltd were the Principal Contractor for the redevelopment project and had appointed Ryde Demolition Ltd and H J Bennett Ltd to provide specialist demolition services.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that the work was inadequately planned and managed by all duty holders.

The technique used to remove the roof timbers was done out of sequence, and the brick gable had been left unstable.

It was also identified that inadequate provision to reduce the risk of falls from heights was made, despite complaints from site operatives in the days leading up to the incident. Scaffolding was only erected to one side of the structure with no fall protection elsewhere.

Management of control measures by all duty holders were overlooked with no adequate monitoring of site procedures to check that operatives were following the demolition plan method statements.


The hearing took place at Portsmouth Crown Court where all three duty holders pled guilty to their charges and were sentenced accordingly.

Ryde Demolition Ltd were sentenced under Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 for failing to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees. They were fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,132.

H J Bennet Ltd were sentenced under Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 for failing to ensure that, so as far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in their employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety. They were fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,057.

Stoneham Construction Ltd were sentenced under Section 13 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 for failing to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, construction work is carried out without risks to health or safety. They were fined £56,667 and ordered to pay costs of £12,004.

HSE Statement

Speaking after the case, HSE Inspector Dominic Goacher stated “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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