Company and director fined following worker’s fatal fall from a tree

Company and director fined following worker’s fatal fall from a tree

  • Both a company and its director have been fined after a worker fell from a tree causing fatal

The Court heard how untrained workers were tasked with taking down a large, dead sycamore tree using a chainsaw. One worker went up a ladder and used the saw to cut a branch, which when released swung back at the worker knocking him out of the tree. As he was not using ropes to anchor himself into the tree he then fell to the ground. The man was taken to hospital and sadly died two weeks later.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that workers should have been trained in chainsaw use and in working with saws in trees. The work should also have been properly planned with competent workers using correct personal protective equipment (PPE) for operating the saws and climbing the tree. The company was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,700.

Speaking after the hearing the HSE inspector said:

       “Using chain saws on and in trees is a specialised task and should only be carried out by trained and competent people using the right protective equipment for using the saws and climbing trees.

       “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.”


  • Using chainsaws for aerial works is specialist work – ensure you have the right competency to carry out the work
  • Ensure the task has been risk assessed and you are aware of the control measures
  • Never work at height unless absolutely necessary