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Wisbech tree worker fined after Marshland St James man suffers serious head injuries from falling branch

PUBLISHED: 16:39 16 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:39 16 October 2017

A tree worker has been appeared in court over an accident in which a man was hit on the head by a falling branch.  Picture PA.

A tree worker has been appeared in court over an accident in which a man was hit on the head by a falling branch. Picture PA.

A self-employed tree worker has been given a suspended prison sentence over an incident in which another worker suffered serious head injuries.

Peterborough Magistrates’ Court heard that on November 10, 2015, Perry Regan who was trading as Toppers Garden Services climbed a ladder to a height of six metres, and began cutting branches from a tree near Wisbech with a chainsaw. One large branch fell from the tree and landed on his employee’s head, severely injuring him.

The worker, who has not been named but is believed to come from Marshland St James, needed to be placed in an induced coma. He suffered multiple injuries, including skull fractures and the loss of sight in one eye.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out afterwards found Perry Regan was not competent or qualified to carry out, manage or supervise such work. He was using a chainsaw without being qualified to do so, the work was not properly planned to identify risks, nor was adequate training or instruction given to the operatives.

Perry Regan pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison, which was suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay costs of £2,000 and a victim surcharge fee of £115.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Unwin said: “This incident could have been prevented by the provision of appropriate training for both Perry Regan and his employees. Personal protective equipment had not been made available to the workers, and there was a complete lack of any safe system of work. This case highlights the need for tree work to be carried out by suitably trained and competent persons, and that it should be planned and organised correctly.”

After the hearing, Mr Regan said: “It’s an accident at the end of the day, it’s all to do with the paperwork. We’re relieved it’s all over, that’s all I can really say.”

Toppers’ website says: “Our family run business has more than 30 years experience in the garden maintenance industry, and offers a wide range of services for the exterior of your property.

“Whether you require a one off job or ongoing maintenance we are flexible and experienced in all areas.”

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