An Essex tree surgeon has been ordered to pay costs and fines of nearly £11,000 for breaching health and safety regulations after a fall from a tree resulted in a colleague being admitted to intensive care. The 71-year-old landscape gardener fell four metres off a ladder holding a running chainsaw, landing on a 72-year-old co-worker. The co-worker suffered a punctured lung, a dislocated shoulder, internal injuries and a severe cut to the head in the workplace accident.
The men had been hired to fell a tree that had suffered damage during high winds. They had lopped off the lower branches before using a ladder to continue upwards. The three-stage extendable ladder had been put on the flat bed of a truck in order to extend its reach. The court heard that the ladder was not secured, there were no ropes or harnesses being used and none of the workers were wearing protective equipment.
The tree surgeon was knocked off the ladder when a branch swung around as it was being cut. The injured man was released from the hospital after four days, but later collapsed in his home, suffering further dislocation and permanent nerve damage to both arms. The man had a severe infection in his chest and spent eight weeks in intensive care. He now requires constant care.
The court heard that none of the workers had any certification denoting competence in the basics of tree surgery or chainsaw skills. An inspector for the Health and Safety Executive said that it was surprising that an accident had not happened before, given the gardener’s lack of training and competency.
An employee who is injured in a workplace accident may be able to seek compensation. The level of any award will take into consideration severity of injury, medical costs, lost wages and permanence of disability as well as any other costs incurred as a result of the incident.
Source: EADT24, “Essex tree surgeon fined £10k for accident which left employee needing constant care“, Will Lodge, Nov. 14, 2014