A forestry worker suffered a fractured hip and a damaged knee after being crushed by a tree trunk.
As a result of the incident, which took place at Westhide Wood in Herefordshire two years ago, the timber firm which employed the man has been fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The 24-year-old worker, who has asked to remain anonymous, was one of two men working for Chalford Timber Ltd, based in Leominster.
The worker was using a chainsaw to cut the trunks into three-metre lengths while his colleague was using a forestry machine to lift the trees into position.
Injured at work
As one of the trees was being lifted, it became caught up in the branches of another and broke free, hitting the worker and pushing him against the forestry machine.
The incident left the man in hospital for a fortnight and he can no longer do manual work, forcing him to find a job elsewhere.
Following the incident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation and found that the company had not stuck to methods which ensure nobody is placed at risk when machinery is being operated.
The HSE told Hereford Magistrates’ Court that the operator of the machine should have made sure the man on the ground was in a safe area and in view before continuing his operation.
Chalford Timber Ltd, of Nordan, Leominster, Herefordshire, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £16,335 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Christopher Gregory said the incident should never had taken place.
He said that forestry was a potentially dangerous profession and people in the industry should be aware of the risks. However he said workers and machinery should be kept apart at all times to reduce the risk of injury.
Date Published: August 13, 2014
Author: David Brown