A tree feller suffered a railway injury after a poplar he was working on toppled onto the track.
Peter Wood, from Durham, was on the line Ryton-based Boat House Crossing but didn’t hear the Newcastle-to-Carlisle train coming.
Luckily, the locomotive broke in time, but could not prevent striking the tree, hurting Mr Wood in the process. The 52-year-old employee suffered a fractured ankle, bruises to his arms and thigh and a head cut.
Gateshead Council and 42-year-old tree surgeon Mark Connelly have both been sentenced over safety failings pertaining to the accident.
The work entailed removing a couple of poplar trees at risk of plunging on to the line. The council contacted Connelly’s firm to undertake the work. But on January 11, 2012 one tree dropped on to the line, leading to the accident.
The incident cost Northern Rail a total of over £104,000 in repairs, callouts, service delays, machinery hire and materials, Newcastle Crown Court heard last Thursday (July 3).
Council fined £40,000 over accident
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the forestry accident
- The council did not take “reasonable” measures to make sure that Connelly was capable of undertaking the work on big trees. These included checking relevant qualifications which would have revealed that Connelly wasn’t qualified
- Connelly did not put in place safety steps to stop the tree falling towards the line
- No-one had informed Network Rail about the tree-felling next to its line
The court fined Gateshead Council £40,000 and told it to surrender £5,854 in costs. The authority admitted breaking the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Connelly, from Washington, was ordered to do 150 hours’ unpaid work. He was also told to fork out £5,854 costs. He also admitted breaching the identical act.
Contact Accident Advice Helpline now
If you have been hurt while at work, you might be entitled to make an accident claim. Accident Advice Helpline (AAH) should be the place to begin such personal injury claims. The firm has expert solicitors trained to deal with all cases.
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Source: Health And Safety At Work