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Worker's tree fall lands farmer in court

08-04-2013

The worker dropped onto a barn below before rolling off the roof and ending up on some of the felled branches on the ground

An east Hampshire farm owner has been prosecuted after an untrained worker plunged over four metres from a tree as he was using a chainsaw to prune branches.

The worker climbed up into a large sycamore tree and used a rope supplied by farm owner Hamish Janson to tie the chainsaw to a branch. He straddled one of the tree limbs and was cutting down branches when he lost his balance and fell.

The 41-year-old man from Ringwood, Hampshire, dropped onto a barn below before rolling off the roof and ending up on some of the felled branches on the ground. He managed to escape with minor injuries to his back and neck.

The incident, at Newton Valence Farm in Newton, Alton, on 3 June 2011, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted Mr Janson at Aldershot Magistrates’ Court on 4 April.   

HSE’s investigation found Hamish Janson wanted the tree pruned as branches had started to damage the roof of the barn. He told two of his workers to cut the tree back but neither was trained to use chainsaws within a tree or given the correct equipment to carry out the work.

The court heard the incident was entirely preventable. After the incident Hamish Janson employed professional tree surgeons and the job was completed safely in less than an hour at a cost of just over £100.

Hamish Janson, 72, of Newton Valence Farm, Selborne Road, Alton, admitted a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to make sure that the tree work was planned, supervised and safely carried out. He was fined £1,075 and ordered to pay £3,350 in costs.

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