Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Tree Felling Accident Costs Employee His Life
Posted by David Cant on May 1, 2012

A task felling trees went horribly wrong when Christopher Fox was stood on a tractor being used to try and control the position the tree fell. Unfortunately the tree took an unexpected direction. This led to the trunk hitting the tractor which them over turned. The tractor crushed 60 year old Mr Fox which resulted in immediate loss of life.

The accident happened on Hodstock Forest Farm in Worksop in 2009. Mr Fox was employed by GMT Foljambe 1996 Discretionary Trust. The trustee, George Michael Thornhagh Foljambe was prosecuted after the Health and Safety Executive investigated the incident. The inspectors found that Mr Foljambe had failed to ensure the safety of Mr Fox. The employee was not provided with any adequate training on how to correctly use the equipment he was provided with for the job of felling trees.

Large Fine for Breaching Regulations

The defendant pleaded guilty at Nottingham Crown Court. Mr Foljambe was fined £10,000 and was ordered to pay an additional £20,327 in costs. He was sentenced for breaching Regulations 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act which states all employers have to ensure the health and safety and the welfare of employees as far as is reasonable practicable.

He was also guilty of breaching Regulation 9(1) of the Provisions and Use of Work Equipment Regulations. The regulation says that adequate training must be provided to employees regarding health and safety when using equipment.  Employees need to be shown how to use the equipment, the risks involved and what precautions need to be taken.

Health Inspector, David Butler, said that the job of felling trees is a high risk activity that needs to be carefully managed. Training has to be sufficient and all employees working on jobs such as this need to be given the right tools for the job to ensure they are able to perform the work as safely as possible.

The employees who were working for Mr Foljambe were not provided with adequate training before felling the tree. They had no training on the best methods of work when dealing with such a large tree and they did not have the right tools for the job. This resulted in the death of Mr Fox, a father and a husband.

Manage the Risks When Dealing with High Risk Activities

Health and Safety consultants are able to help you to provide adequate training and helping you to ensure the safety of your employees is recognised. Your legal duties regarding the Health and Safety at Work Act need to be taken seriously. There are numerous health and safety services available to business owners and employees including training, audits and more.

If you have any concerns over the steps you are taking over making sure enough is being done to ensure so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of your employees it is better to be safe than risk the lives of your employees. Contact the Health and Safety consultants on 0800 1488 677 for assistance.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Health and Safety, Health and Safety Consultancy, Health and Safety Regulations, Health and Safety Services, Workplace Health and Safety, Workplace Safety

One Comment

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