Salad firm fined £120k for worker’s serious injury

Salad firm Growing Green was fined £120,000 for health and safety failings

An Essex salad growing company has been fined £120,000, after an employee was seriously injured by a chainsaw while felling trees.

The man – who worked for Growing Green Ltd – suffered deep cuts to his arm while working at the firm’s Brentwood Nursery on April 6 2016, Basildon Magistrates’ Court was told.

Two employees were working together, with one person holding and supporting the branches and the other cutting through them using the chainsaw. During the felling, one man’s arm contacted the top of the moving chainsaw.

The worker – who asked to remain anonymous – suffered deep lacerations damaging the nerves in his arm.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed neither man had been trained to operate the chainsaw, nor were the pair wearing any personal protective equipment. Both should have been equipped with: chainsaw trousers and jacket, chainsaw gloves, safety helmet, safety boots and eye protection.

Also Growing Green Ltd had implemented no programme of supervision or proper planning.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Tania van Rixtel said: “This incident could have easily been avoided if the company had adopted a safe method of working that did not put an employee in the direct line of the moving chainsaw. It was only luck that the gentleman did not lose his arm.

‘one-off’ jobs need to be properly planned’

“Companies are reminded that even occasional and ‘one-off’ jobs need to be properly planned to ensure the correct control measures are in place.”

Growing Green Ltd pleaded guilty to a single breach under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £120,000, including a £170 victim surcharge, and ordered to pay costs of £1,864.35.

The HSE’s website advised: “It is essential that anyone who uses a chainsaw at work should have received adequate training and be competent in using a chainsaw for the type of work that they are required to do.

‘Five deaths and many serious injuries’

In recent years, in forestry and arboriculture, direct contact with a chainsaw has caused five deaths and many serious injuries. These do not include the high numbers of other types of accident that occur during felling, pruning and other related work.”

HSE investigations revealed that most fatal and major injuries involve chainsaw operators taking shortcuts and not following good practice guidance: usually to save time.

The safety group’s latest advice on operating chain saws safely is available here.

Meanwhile, earlier this month chilled prepared food manufacturer was fined £2M after a fatal accident involving plastic bales.

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