The FA Bartlett Tree Expert Company has been fined £24,000 after an 82-foot tree it was felling crashed onto two cars and narrowly missed two people.
At a hearing at Southend Magistrates Court, it was said that the firm was working at Torrington Drive, Debden on 1 August 2016 when the tree fell in the wrong direction onto a public carriageway.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the job was not “properly planned or appropriately supervised”, as there were not enough workers, they didn’t have the correct equipment and they had not been properly trained.
The investigation also found that the area was not properly segregated from members of the public, and the company did not follow standard industry guidelines.
The firm was found to have breached Sections 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined a total of £24,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,352.60.
HSE inspector Adam Hills said: “This was a serious incident and it is fortunate that nobody was injured as a result. The case highlights the importance of following industry guidance in order to fell trees in a manner that does not expose members of the public to unnecessary risk.
“The video footage demonstrates how quickly things can go wrong. A lack of training combined with a failure to ensure that an adequate plan of work was prepared, implemented and followed left members of the public exposed to risks that could have easily been controlled.”