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Compensation for tree surgery accident is likely

03rd October 2011

The accident occurred while the 30-year-old, who had been employed by a Kent-based firm of tree-surgeons, was working on a job in Maidstone in September 2010.

At the Maidstone Magistrates’ Court proceedings the judge heard that the man’s employer, who had been working with him at the time of the incident, had left a tree stump grinder running while he moved away from the machinery.

The worker, who had been carrying a sheet of corrugated metal as he passed the stump grinder, was caught by the revolving mechanism at the front of the machine, pulling the right leg of his trousers into the blades.

The work accident caused the tree surgeon to suffer severe personal injuries including a broken leg and significant muscle damage which required substantial and numerous surgical procedures for reconstruction purposes.

An investigation held after the work accident, carried out by the HSE, found that the business owner had not been suitably trained in safe use of tree stump grinders and he had not followed a safe method of work at the site.

HSE Inspector Paul Vinnicombe said, “”The serious injuries sustained by [the employee] show how hazardous the equipment used in the tree surgery profession can be, and the life-changing effects that an injury can have.

“All those involved in tree work and grounds maintenance must ensure they have received the relevant training in the safe use of their equipment and remain vigilant when using it.”

The employer pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £3,679. It is now likely that any claim for work accident compensation made by the injured employee would have a high chance of success.

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