Suspended prison sentence for unqualified tree worker who caused injury to colleague

An unqualified tree worker has been fined and sentenced for causing serious head injuries to an employee.

Image: Peter Stott (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Image: Peter Stott (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Peterborough Magistrates’ Court heard that on 10 November 2015, Perry Regan, trading as Toppers Garden Services of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, was using a chainsaw on a tree from a ladder, while an unnamed employee stood below.

One large branch fell and hit his employee, causing him multiple injuries including skull fractures and the loss of sight in one eye.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Regan was not competent or qualified to carry out, manage or supervise such work, was not a qualified chainsaw user, and had failed to identify risks or train and instruct his staff properly.

Having pled guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Regan was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to pay costs of £2,000 and a victim surcharge fee of £115.

HSE inspector Paul Unwin said: "This incident could have been prevented by the provision of appropriate training for both Perry Regan and his employees. Personal protective equipment had not been made available to the workers, and there was a complete lack of any safe system of work.

"This case highlights the need for tree work to be carried out by suitably trained and competent persons, and that it should be planned and organised correctly."

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