Environmental contractors fined £7,000 over chainsaw injury to worker

A Lanarkshire environmental services company has been prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) after one of its workers was cut in the leg by the chainsaw he was using to clear a river bank.

Image: Gary Denham
Image: Gary Denham

Hugh Dorricot, then aged 26, was not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and was not adequately trained to use a chainsaw when the incident took place at near Coatbridge in March 2010, Airdrie Sheriff Court heard this week.

While working for Enviro-Clean (Scotland) to clear vegetation and trees from a steep embankment, Dorricott slipped causing the moving chainsaw to cut through his trousers and into his leg.

He underwent a successful operation to repair the wound, and has since recovered and returned to work.

An HSE investigation found that Enviro-Clean's risk assessment for chainsaw work stated that all employees must be properly instructed, trained and supervised, and that PPE, including chainmail leggings, must be worn.

However at the time of the incident, no employees of the company were certified as competent to use a chainsaw, and Dorricott was not wearing adequate PPE, nor was he made aware of the risks involved in the work.

Enviro-Clean (Scotland) of East Kilbride was fined £7,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Following the case, HSE Inspector Jennie Stafford, said: "This incident could have been avoided had Enviroclean (Scotland) Ltd taken reasonably practicable steps – ensuring that only trained and competent users were allowed to operate the chainsaw; discussing the risk assessment with workers, clarifying the system of work and enforcing the wearing of appropriate PPE."

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