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Gardening company in court after employee suffers burns

A gardening firm in Chester has been prosecuted after one of its workers suffered burns while lighting a pile of giant hogweed.

What happened?

The 31-year-old employee had been working alongside Greenstripe Ltd’s operations manager to clear grass and giant hogweed from scrubland in Chester.

A few days later the two returned to the site where the employee was instructed to pour petrol onto the pile of waste vegetation, and use a cigarette lighter to set it on fire.

As he did so, there was an explosion and he was thrown to the ground. He sustained serious burns to his throat, face, body, arms and hands.

An investigation into the incident found that the hogweed could have been taken to a licensed waste site, rather than being burnt, and the firm had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the work.

What was the outcome?

Greenstripe Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £23,000 and ordered to pay £9,682 in prosecution costs.

After the hearing HSE Inspector, Deborah Walker, said:

“A worker has suffered burns that may affect him for the rest of
his life because his employer failed to ensure his safety.

“He should never have been told to pour petrol over the weeds and
then to light them but Greenstripe didn’t consider that this
practice might be dangerous.

“There was absolutely no need for the vegetation to be disposed of
in this way, putting the lives of workers in danger. It could
easily have been taken to a nearby waste site without
the risk of employees being injured.”

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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