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    TREE FELLING OPERATIONS LACKED DEFINED COMMS

    Workman struck by falling tree inside “normal” exclusion zone

    A company has been fined following an incident when a worker suffered serious injuries after being struck by a tree in February 2016.

    Fort William Sheriff Court heard that four employees were felling trees on land adjacent to the A82 north of Fort William, contracted by the Forestry Commission.

    Whilst dealing with an 8m tree the injured workman made preparatory cuts and checked with the rest of the team to ensure they were in a safe place. He thought his colleagues understood that he was about to fell the tree.

    After the initial cut was made he made his felling cut at the same time as a co-worker dragged a large branch from the brash pile into the path of the felling tree. The tree stuck him on the left side of his helmet and left shoulder.

    Exclusion zone not adhered to

    HSE investigators found that the normal exclusion zone (no one positioned within two tree lengths of a tree being felled) was not adhered to on this occasion.

    A clearly defined system of communication would have prevented the misunderstanding.

    • Malcolm Duffy (Duffy Skylining T/A) – of Elgin, Moray pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2 and Section 33 (1) (a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974 and was fined £8,000.

    After the hearing, HSE inspector, Penny Falconer said:

    “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.

    If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

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