Free injury claim assessment

0333 577 8866
Start your claim online

Teenager granted compensation after loss of toes in wood chipper

Calibra Tree Surgeons in Reading have been fined£7,000 and ordered to pay £5,973 in costs due to a serious breach in health and safety that led to the loss of a teenager’s toes.

As reported by the Health and Safety Executive, Connor Harfield, at the time aged 16, lost all of his toes and the majority of the ball of his right foot during the third week of his first job at the tree surgery company.

Now aged 18, Harfield has been left permanently impaired by the incident, and has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression.

Reading Magistrates’ Court heard that the teen was working to reduce shrubbery and stubs for the company using a mobile wood chipper. As he was feeding the wood into the machine, he inserted his right foot within the shoot to speed up the flow.

His shoe then snagged on the feed rollers and his foot was pulled within the blades.

An investigation by HSE found that the chipper was badly maintained and was missing a vital safety switch. They also established that the first-time worker was not properly supervised or trained, and should not have been allowed to work in such conditions.

Calibra were aware of the safety defect as they had ordered a new safety valve for the machine, and they pleaded guilty to the court on single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

HSE inspector Daniel Hilbourne said: “No responsible company would keep equipment with defective safety measures in use, especially a piece of equipment like a wood chipper that is known to be dangerous because of the very nature of what it does.

“Neither would a responsible company leave a young, inexperienced worker to his own devices around such machinery without adequate training and supervision.

“Yet that is precisely what Calibra Tree Surgeons allowed, and a teenager has been left with permanent impairment and psychological scarring as a result.

“It is well known that young people in the workplace are often less risk averse, and they need to be closely and carefully monitored when using machinery.

“It is also imperative that machinery is well maintained and is pre-checked before use. Had that happened here, this serious incident could have been prevented.”

Request a call back

Fill in your details below for a free callback.

Personal Injury Awards 2013 Winner
Personal Injury Awards 2012 Winner
Customer Reviews

No Win No Fee Solicitors

Unlike many no win no fee solicitors, we have a genuine interest in claims for accidental personal injury. We're not just out to get compensation - though it can help ease the pain of a fall at work or a road accident - we want justice too, and the fully qualified, specialist no win no fee solicitors we put you in contact with will do their best to get both for you.

Your personal injury claim will be handled professionally from the outset, with an easy-to-use compensation guide to help you on your way. If you want to make a claim through trusted, professional personal injury lawyers, we can help.

Start your claim »


  • Mr Moore

    Mr Moore suffered nerve damage to his neck and shoulder when he was assaulted by a care home resident suffering from mental illness. His injuries left him unable to work...

    Read more »
  • Mrs Miller

    Mrs Claire Miller, from Southampton, was injured when another driver hit her car on the motorway, causing whiplash and injury to her back and hip...

    Read more »
  • Mrs Philips

    The parking payment machine was situated in a dark, dingy area and when Mrs Phillips turned around to walk away after paying she stumbled and landed on a sheared metal...

    Read more »
  • Mr Brown

    Mr Brown, a 27 year old football coach and match day steward from Brighton, suffered from a severely lacerated hand after falling down the stairs...

    Read more »
  • Mr Sinclair

    Mr Sinclair was walking across a wood floor area, which had been laid on top of several beams, when he stepped onto a part that hadn’t been properly secured...

    Read more »

Latest News

  • 17 Feb Stay safe on the road in the wind More »
  • 17 Feb Surge in weather related injuries expected as ‘red weather warning’ issued More »
  • 19 Dec Retired company-CEO donates millions from lottery winnings to cancer charity More »

Call us now on 0800 567 7866 or

Call us now on 0333 577 8866 or