£13k fine for tree surgeon after dangerous wood chipper incident

A tree surgery company based in Bracknell in Berkshire has been fined almost £13,000 after he was found to have breached health and safety regulations in an incident which caused a 16-year-old worker to be injured by a wood chipping machine.

Mark Grubb, the director of Calibra Tree Surgeons, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after employee Connor Harfield’s toes were shredded in a wood chipper whilst he was at work.

Reading Magistrates Court heard how the teenager, who had only started the job three weeks before the incident, was injured after using his foot to speed up the process of putting wood into the wood chipper.

The court also heard that no one was supervising Mr Harfield whilst he carried out his work and that the safety bar on the chipper was faulty and had been for around 11 days before the incident occurred. The company also failed to carry out a young person’s risk assessment, which is another important element included in health and safety training courses for most industries.

After pleading guilty to three offences of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act, Mr Grubb and Calibra Tree Surgeons were ordered to pay a fine of £12,000. This was later reduced to £7,000 due to the company’s financial situation.