This website uses non-intrusive cookies to improve your user experience. You can visit our cookie privacy page for more information.

Unsafe tree work leads to fine for Lincolnshire man

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."

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: "Where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury."
  3. Regulation 4(1) of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 states: "Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective."
  4. Regulation 4(2) of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 states: "Every self-employed person shall ensure that he is provided with suitable personal protective equipment where he may be exposed to a risk to his health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective."
  5. Regulation 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: "Every employer shall ensure that all persons who use work equipment have received adequate training for purposes of health and safety, including training in the methods which may be adopted when using the work equipment, any risks which such use may entail and precautions to be taken."
  6. HSE information and news releases can be accessed at: www.hse.gov.uk/press

Press enquiries

Regional reporters should call the appropriate Regional News Network press office.

Issued on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive by the Regional News Network

Updated 2012-07-18