Social media

Javascript is required to use HSE website social media functionality.

Cornwall based tree surgeon sentenced after tree felling incident

18 April 2018

A tree surgeon from Cornwall has been sentenced after a tree that was being worked on, fell into a public area and hit a parked car.

Truro Magistrates’ Court heard how Tobias Arthur Robert Smith, trading as Truro Tree Services undertook the tree removal work for a private residence in Truro during March 2017. Chainsaw cuts were made to the 5ft wide trunk and ropes were attached to pull the tree down into a designated safe area. When it failed to fall, Mr Smith decided to pull the tree stem down using his work truck. A tow rope was attached to the top of the stem and connected to a tow hitch on his work truck. He drove his truck down Carvoza Road away from the junction of Mitchell Hill pulling the stem down but it did not fall in the intended direction. The stem toppled off course by approximately 70 degrees, smashing through the boundary wall of the property coming to rest across a public pavement and onto the roof of a parked car on Carvoza Road.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Toby Smith and the contractors used for this felling were not sufficiently trained or qualified and therefore were not considered competent to undertake this work.   Toby Smith and his team that day, failed to identify the obvious hazards exposing his contractors and the public to risks to their health or safety.

Tobias Arthur Robert Smith of Crellow Terrace, Stithians pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He has been fined £615 and ordered to pay costs of £1000.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Paul Mannell said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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.[1]
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: [2]

  1. HSE news releases are available at[3]

Press enquiries

All enquiries from journalists should be directed to the HSE Press Office