Arborist receives six figure pay out after chainsaw injury

A tree surgeon had his left arm almost hacked off with a chainsaw after his employer failed to provide adequate training.

Karl Spafford, from Southport, suffered life changing injuries in February 2014 when he was working as a tree surgeon. After years of suffering physical and mental pain, he has now received a six-figure pay-out.

He was positioned 30 feet up a tree in Preston, using one hand to hold a branch and the other to use a chainsaw. When he went to cut the branch, the chainsaw kicked back and cut into his forearm leaving him with a severe gash. He underwent emergency surgery at Royal Preston Hospital and has permanent pins and needles in his forearm and chronic neuropathic pain, along with scarring and a reduction in grip strength.

Following a four-year legal battle by personal injury firm, Fletchers Solicitors, it was found that Safford's former employer had not provided him with adequate training. Refresher training should have been provided to remind employees of the importance of using two hands while operating a chainsaw.

Spafford said: "Tree surgery was all that I knew, and I loved it; I lived and breathed my job. I was known for being able to go further and higher than other people. I knew there were risks associated with the work, but I didn’t think anything would happen to me.

"Had I been trained more, it would have been drilled into me to use two hands when operating dangerous machinery like a chainsaw. I really just want to speak out to try and stop this from happening to anyone else. I wish I could go straight back into my career as a tree surgeon, but that’s not possible so I’ve had to start rebuilding my life."

Jen Nolan, head of multi track personal injury at Fletchers Solicitors, said: "Karl and his family have been through so much in the last few years and it was preventable if adequate training had been provided. Karl will have the scarring and pain for the rest of his life as well as losing the career he loved.

"We hope that the settlement will help Karl and his family to enjoy some time together after years of upset and also provide some security for them after being out of work for so long. We wish Mr Spafford and his family all the best for the future."


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