Barking Gardener fined 6000
Fri 27 Jul 2012 - posted by Total Access
Barking Gardener fined 6000
- John Holland had no protective clothes, no ropes, and one foot on the tree and the other on the ladder
- He was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 costs
Perched precariously on a ladder with one foot on a branch and no harness in sight, landscape gardener John Holland gets to work with a chainsaw.
But while the immediate risk to his safety may have been obvious, it was an unseen danger which cost him dear in the end – a man with a camera in the next door garden.
Mr Holland, 53, has been landed with a £6,000 bill after the neighbour took a picture of him and reported him and his colleague to the authorities.
The furious gardener claims the fee is far too high, but health and safety bosses insist it was ‘sheer good fortune’ that he did not hurt himself or anyone else.
Dangerous: John Holland was reported to the Health and Safety Executive after a neighbour trained in assessing chainsaw work saw him up this tree
Mr Holland was working in Deeping St James, Lincolnshire, when he was spotted by a local resident balancing at the top of a 20ft tree.
Without wearing the necessary protective clothing or using safety ropes, he had scaled the tree using a ladder which was wider than the trunk.
Once at the top, Mr Holland wrapped one arm around the trunk and balanced with one foot on a branch and the other on the ladder. In his left hand he can be seen holding a chainsaw.
What he didn’t know was that he had been spotted by a neighbour who happened to be trained in assessing chainsaw work and who later reported him to the Health and Safety Executive.
HSE inspector Neil Ward said it was 'sheer good fortune' that no one was hurt when Mr Holland was using the chainsaw, similar to the one pictured
At Spalding magistrates’ court, the landscape gardener admitted breaching a series of regulations on working at height and using protective equipment. He was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 costs.
Mr Holland, who owns JH Landscaping Services, insists he should not have been fined because he was unaware there were any problems with his style of pruning.
‘As soon as the HSE informed me of the technical faults of what we were doing we went out there and then went on more training courses and put everything right,’ he said.
‘But they still wanted to go ahead and prosecute me to make an example of me so word would get around to other people of how seriously they take this kind of thing.
I was ordered to pay £6,000 but the maximum fine for each offence is £20,000.
‘You can break into a house with criminal intent and the maximum fine is just £5,000, but I could have been fined £20,000 for just having the wrong trousers.’
HSE inspector Neil Ward said: ‘Chainsaws are dangerous pieces of machinery in untrained hands.
‘It is sheer good fortune that no one was hurt that day.’