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Chain saw - work at height fail

Chain saw - work at height fail

27 July 2012 Email this article

A Lincolnshire landscape gardener has been fined after being spotted carrying out unsafe tree work.

John Holland and an employee were felling a tree at a house in Foxgloves, Deeping St James, on 19 August 2011. They were both using a chainsaw, despite not being qualified to do so and neither was wearing protective clothing such as protective trousers and boots.

In addition, Mr Holland was working in the crown of the tree without any kind of safety equipment that would have prevented a fall, such as a harness.

The two men were spotted by a neighbour who was trained to assess chainsaw work. He reported his concerns to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which brought today’s prosecution at Spalding Magistrates’ Court.

John Michael Holland, age 53, of Little London, Spalding, Lincolnshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, Regulations 4(1) and 4(2) of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 and Regulation 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Spalding magistrates today fined him a total of £4,000 and ordered him to pay costs of £2,000.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Neil Ward said:

"The neighbour was suitably qualified to know that the way Mr Holland and his employee were working was far from safe and Mr Holland could have fallen from the tree at any time. Not only was it wrong of Mr Holland to use the chainsaw without having the necessary qualifications, but it was also wrong for him to expect his employee to do the same. Chainsaws are dangerous pieces of machinery in untrained hands. They can cause serious injury or even death. It is sheer good fortune that no-one was hurt that day.

"Mr Holland should also have been aware of the need to secure himself to the tree. Working at height carries significant risks and all necessary precautions should be taken to prevent a fall."