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A 71-year-old tree surgeon has been prosecuted and fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after he fell on to an employee, causing significant and ongoing injuries.

Gilbert Bradfield, who has 30 years’ experience working as a tree surgeon, escaped injury himself after he fell from a height of around four metres while still holding onto an operational chainsaw.

Bradfield's fall was broken by his 72-year-old friend and colleague who suffered severe lacerations to the head and a dislocated shoulder. He also suffered a number of internal injuries, including a punctured lung, requiring a four-night stay in hospital.

The injured worker had to return to the intensive care unit for a further eight weeks, shortly after being discharged. A collapse at home caused his originally injured shoulder to dislocate again, along with his other shoulder, while he also developed a severe chest infection.

The unnamed worker has been left with limited mobility of both of his arms and now requires round-the-clock care and attention.

The subsequent HSE investigation found that despite his experience, Bradfield had failed to ensure the work was being conducted safely. The HSE told Colchester Magistrates’ Court that no personal protective equipment (PPE) was being used, while a ladder was being 'footed' by the injured worker in the back of a pickup truck.

The incident happened when a branch being cut by Bradfield swung round and knocked him off the three-stage extending ladder being used to gain access to the higher branches.

Bradfield received a fine of £10,000 and was ordered to pay courts costs amounting to £889.

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