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71-year-old in court after chainsaw fall onto colleague

A tree surgeon has been in court after, while still holding a running chainsaw, he fell from a tree and landed on a colleague.

What happened?

Employer, Gilbert Bradfield, had been contracted to fell a tree after concerns for its stability following strong winds.

He hired three casual employees to help him and they erected a three-stage extending ladder to provide higher access to the tree.

In order to reach the highest part of the tree, they had placed the ladder in the back of their pick-up truck that was parked at the foot of the tree.

Mr Bradfield then climbed four to five metres in order to remove the top third of the tree using a heavy rear-handled chainsaw – but as he did so the top knocked him off the ladder.

He fell, with the chainsaw still running, and landed on his employee who was holding the base of the ladder.

The 71-year-old only received minor injuries from the fall, but his 72-year-old employee suffered a dislocated shoulder, a severe laceration to the head, a punctured lung and other internal injuries.

He was in hospital for four days, but later collapsed at home after being discharged and dislocated both his shoulders, and spent nearly eight weeks in intensive care with a severe chest infection.

Due to sustained nerve damage he now has very little use of both arms and requires round-the-clock care.

What was the outcome?

An investigation into the incident revealed that no protective equipment was being worn by any of the men operating chainsaws, nor were they using equipment for working at height.

Additionally, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that none of the men had certificates of competence in even the basics of chainsaw skills or tree surgery

Gilbert Bradfield pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £889.

HSE Inspector, Anthony Brookes, said:

“Gilbert Bradfield had not properly planned this work, and the way it was
tackled almost doomed it to failure from the start. It is somewhat
surprising, given his lack of proper training and a lack
of competency, that a similar incident
had not occurred before.

“Tree work is a hazardous occupation and it is essential that the risks
are recognised. In the last ten years, 24 tree surgeons have been
killed and 1,400 have been injured. The HSE website has a
dedicated area that provides advice on training and
safe working methods in the industry.”

If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

Source: View article

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