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Company fined after eighty-foot tree falls onto cars

Date:7 December 2017

An arboriculture company has been fined after an eighty-two foot tree they were felling crashed down onto two cars and narrowly missed two members of the public.

Southend Magistrates Court heard how The F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company Limited were carrying out the work at Torrington Drive, Debden last summer when the tree was felled in the wrong direction. The large poplar tree fell across a grass verge, the public carriageway and footpath before coming to rest in the front gardens opposite, narrowly missing two members of the public.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred on 1 August 2016, found that the job was not properly planned or appropriately supervised, there were not enough workers to carry out the job safely, they didn’t have the correct equipment and they had not been properly trained. The work area was not sufficiently segregated from members of the public, and the company did not follow standard industry guidelines.

The F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company Limited, of High Street, Crawley, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They were fined a total of £24,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,352.60.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Adam Hills said:

“This was a serious incident and it is fortunate that nobody was injured as a result. The case highlights the importance of following industry guidance in order to fell trees in a manner that does not expose members of the public to unnecessary risk.

The video footage demonstrates how quickly things can go wrong. A lack of training combined with a failure to ensure that an adequate plan of work was prepared, implemented and followed left members of the public exposed to risks that could have easily been controlled.”

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    • PRO Supplier

      is that the actual footage of the incident ??  !! No hiding from the public & cameras on this one !

      • PRO

        Yes, I believe it to be.

  • He must have cut through one side of the hinge to cause it to go sideways like that.
  • PRO
    • PRO

      No excusing them breaking every rule in the book but i was once told  that lombardi poplars are hollow which could have contributed to the bad judgement . 

      • PRO
        I know nothing about dropping trees, would you not fell it in sections?
        • PRO

          I would have thought so , dismantling by qualified tree surgeons in that environment was the correct procedure . 

          • PRO Supplier

            Maybe there was some rot - in which case dismantling might have (ironically) be deemed too dangerous for the climber...? But, the rope on the back of the truck tells you all you need to know about their H&S efforts..

            • PRO

              It made the headlines locally.

              Maybe it was spec'd and priced as a quick 'in & out' job to fill a gap ?

              I don't see much communication going on between them

              However the RA should have picked up any issues on the day....

              So, so  lucky....

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