London borough council fined for safety failings

A London borough council has been fined after a road worker suffered serious injury whilst cutting trees.

Southwark Crown Court heard how an employee of London Borough of Havering sustained a serious cut injury just above his left knee after a Sthil cut-off saw he was using was fitted with an inappropriate blade and used to cut tree roots and branches with.

The blade became stuck and on pulling it free the blade ran across the top of his left knee.

He suffered a deep cut above the left knee damaging ligaments and cartiledge requiring sixty stiches.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred on 2 March 2015 found that the wrong equipment was being used for the task. No risk assessment was conducted for the use of the saw and blade.

A safe system of work should have been in place that identified suitable and compatible machinery for certain tasks.

London Borough of Havering, Town Hall, Main Road, Romford, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 4(2) and 4(3) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, and was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,240.

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: 
  3. HSE news releases are available at


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