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Fife council fined following chainsaw accident

Posted in: Employer Negligence Foot Injuries Workplace Injuries 

Fife council has received a major fine after janitor Craig Davies lost his toe while chainsawing a tree that had blown down in high winds. The 40-year-old janitor was seriously injured at work after a large branch from the tree fell onto his foot and trapped it against the trunk. Despite three major operations, doctors were unable to save one of his toes.

Fife council has been fined £20,000 after failing to carry out basic risk assessments surrounding the use of chainsaws.  Mr Davies was called to Canmore Primary School in Dunferrmline on 11th of January 2012 where an ash tree had blown down in strong winds. Despite having worked for the council for 20 years, Mr Davies had only received basic chainsaw training alongside two other colleagues from the authority’s education department in November 2011.

Insufficient training and supervision

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive found that risk assessments had not been carried out and that the local authority had failed to maintain a safe working system concerning the use of chainsaws. There was a very obvious lack of sufficient training and supervision surrounding the use of chainsaws. Kerry Cringan, an HSE inspector, said:

“Employers must ensure that chainsaw operations are carefully planned and supervised, particularly when employees are not experienced in arboricultural work.”

Following the accident and three operations, Mr Davies spent three months off work.

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