R M Contractors Limited aka RMC, a civil engineering company, and a contractor working on behalf of a tree surgery company Complete Tree Services (CTS) have been sentenced after a member of the public was injured by fencing wire and needing surgery to remove pieces from her neck.

Redditch Magistrates’ Court heard that a member of the public was in her garden, when she was sprayed with pieces of fencing wire that had become entangled in a mechanical flail. As the head of the flail was lifted, ejected pieces were directed towards her garden. She was struck twice, once in the leg and once in the neck.

The incident, which occurred on 18 May 2015 sparked an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).  The investigation found the contractor RMC who had engaged the sub-contractor CTS to carry out the flailing, had failed to properly plan this work to ensure the suitable controls had been identified and implemented.  They both failed to check the area for obstructions or follow safe procedures should such an event occur.

R M Contractors Limited, of Pipers Road, Park Farm Industrial Estate, Redditch, Worcestershire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 15(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, and was fined £180,000 and ordered to pay costs of £22,000.

Matt Lea of Little Luddington Farm, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and has been sentenced to 120 hours community order and ordered to pay costs of £3600.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Chris Gregory said:

“Members of the public have a right to expect to be able to enjoy their garden without any risk of being hit by flying debris from neighbouring work activity.”