Blog - Accidents at Work

Teenage Worker Loses Five Toes in Wood Chipper Accident

A teenage worker lost five toes in an accident involving a wood chipper.

Connor Harfield was just 16 years old when the accident happened in September 2011. He was working for Calibra Tree Surgeons Ltd, and was just three weeks into his first ever job.

Mr Harfield was feeding waste shrubbery and tree stumps through a mobile wood chipper machine for his employers. He was using his foot to speed up the process, and had placed his right foot into the chute.

However, as he was doing this, his foot caught on the rollers that feed shrubbery into the chipper. This caused his foot to be pulled between the blades of the machine and he suffered a devastating injury.

Mr Harfield lost all the toes on his right foot in the accident. He also lost part of his foot and has been left with post traumatic stress disorder.

The HSE found that the wood chipper was poorly maintained and missing a safety bar at the bottom of the feed tube. The company kept the chipper in use despite knowing of this defect.

The HSE also found that the young worker was not adequately trained or supervised to use the dangerous machine.

A fine of £7,000 was issued to Calibra Tree Surgeons Ltd by Magistrates yesterday after they pleaded guilty to breaking work equipment and health and safety regulations in regards to the accident.

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