Gardening firm fined £23,000 for employee’s burns

Overview of incident

A gardening company in Chester has received a fine of £23,000 after an employee suffered burns while lighting a pile of giant hogweed.

The company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the employee had been given petrol to ignite and burn the waste.

The man was injured when using a cigarette lighter to ignite a pile of waste vegetation that was doused in petrol. When going to light the fire there was an explosion and he was thrown to the ground. The employee received burns to his face, throat, body, arms and hands.

Resulting investigations found there was no need for the hogweed to be burnt as it could have been taken to a licensed waste site. The company had also failed to carry out a risk assessment for the work.

Details of fine

£23,000 and ordered to pay £9,682 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Injured Person(s)

31-year-old from Poland.

Company Involved

Greenstripe Ltd


Chester, England.


Warrington Crown Court


A worker has suffered burns that may affect him for the rest of his life because his employer failed to ensure his safety.

He should never have been told to pour petrol over the weeds and then to light them but Greenstripe didn’t consider that this practice might be dangerous.

There was absolutely no need for the vegetation to be disposed of in this way, putting the lives of workers in danger. It could easily have been taken to a nearby waste site without the risk of employees being injured. – HSE Inspector Deborah Walker