Council prosecuted after tree worker's lethal fall from cherry picker

The overturned cherry-picker - image:HSE
The overturned cherry-picker - image:HSE

Bradford Metropolitan District Council has admitted serious safety breaches after one of its parks employees narrowly escaped death when he fell 11m from the cradle of a cherry picker while pruning trees.

The cherry picker overturned during work in the city's Bierley Hall Woods on 27 July 2012. The then 22-year-old worker suffered multiple injuries including fractures to his spine, collar bone, pelvis and right leg. Additional internal injuries required surgery requiring more than five months' absence from work.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted the council after identifying a series of failings involving the planning and preparation of the work.

It found that the wrong type of ground mats had been provided to the team to put underneath the machine's feet, which then sank into an area of soft ground as the boom arm rotated.

Also, no council workers who did off-road tree work were trained to work in soft, sloping or uneven ground, as all training had been done in a depot yard.

Bradford Council was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £9,623 in costs.

HSE inspector David Welsh said: "Work at height remains one of the most significant causes of death and major injuries among workers. All such work must be carefully planned and workers need the correct equipment for each task and adequate supervision."

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