Farmer fined after chainsaw accident

A FARMER has been fined after one of his employees was injured while working with a chainsaw.

Peter Haste, owner of Hill Farm, Leiston, appeared at Lowestoft Magistrates’ Court following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

He admitted breaching regulations under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The court heard how his then part-time worker Keith Dennis was asked to cut back an overgrown hedge on October 30 last year, despite being given no supervision and no protective clothing.

Mr Dennis, 49, from Middleton, had used a chainsaw for many years but had no formal training in how to safely handle the machinery, the court was told.

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The accident happened when an overhead branch he was cutting fell – bringing the chainsaw down onto his left elbow, severing artery and tendon, the HSE has said.

The court was told as he was working alone, Mr Dennis had to make his way to a road and stop a motorist for the emergency services to be called.

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An investigation by the HSE found in addition to the lack of training, supervision and equipment, there had been no assessment on how to carry out the work safely.

On Monday Haste admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined �1,600. He was also ordered to pay �1,400 costs.

HSE inspector Steve Hook said: “Chainsaws are a potentially dangerous piece of equipment, therefore reliance on experience alone is not enough. Employers must ensure appropriate training, supervision and equipment are provided.

“An effective assessment of risks must also be carried out.

“Advice and guidance is available and easily accessible to help comply with the law and keep people safe. HSE will not hesitate to take action against employers failing to comply with the law.”

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