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Fine after 16-year-old cut with chainsaw

17 November 2021

A TREE surgeon has been fined £10,000 after his 16-year-old employee was left with a life changing injury after being cut in a chainsaw accident.

The teenager was working with his employer, Dominic Di Pasquale, cutting down trees at a home in Pollokshields West, Glasgow on 19 March 2018.

Di Pasquale, a sole trader from Motherwell, was felling trees with a chainsaw and his employee was picking up the branches.

One of the branches he picked up hadn’t been cut yet. As Di Pasquale continued to cut it, the chainsaw jammed, pulling the branch and the teenager’s arm towards it. The chainsaw cut deep into his right hand along his knuckles from his index finger to his pinkie.

The teenager was taken to hospital by Di Pasquale, where he underwent surgery on his hand. He has since had three more operations to try and restore the use of his hand and has spent much of the last three years in casts.

The injury has left the teenager struggling to tie his shoelaces and he cannot use a keyboard. He has been advised to use an adapted steering wheel for driving.

When the employee started working with Di Pasquale, he wasn’t given any training. There also wasn’t a suitable system of work in place to make sure the employees stayed a safe distance from each other.

At Glasgow Sheriff Court on Wednesday, Di Pasquale plead guilty to failings under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £10,000.

Alistair Duncan, head of the Health and Safety Investigation Unit said, “This young man was left with a painful injury that has affected his dexterity and mental health, and had a life changing impact.

“If he had received basic training, this accident could well have been prevented.

“Dominic Di Pasquale put his employee at unacceptable risk and this prosecution should remind other employers they will be held accountable for their failures.”