An accident that resulted in a woman being hospitalised for six days has been labelled "completely avoidable" by WorkSafe.

Tree care business Stumpmaster Limited was cutting down a palm tree from a property when the woman walked into the path of the falling tree.

The victim suffered fractures and lacerations requiring hospitalisation.

The company was today convicted in the North Shore District Court and fined $90,000 and ordered to pay $18,500 in reparation to the victim.


An investigation by WorkSafe found there was no exclusion area around the tree to ensure public safety.

Cones had been placed in the area but were not two tree lengths from the tree, and with no notice to warn the public.

Stumpmaster had suitable signage available at its office and extendable barriers and tape in its vehicle at the site, however, it had not been used.

WorkSafe said the sentencing was a lesson that safety gear was no good when sitting in a vehicle – and it needed to be used properly.

"Stumpmaster had extendable barriers and tape available to mark out an exclusion zone but chose not to use it," said WorkSafe's deputy general manager, investigations and specialist services Simon Humphries.

"As a result, an innocent party has received traumatic injuries," Humphries said.

"You are responsible for ensuring that other people are not put at risk by the work of your business. This includes members of the public who could be affected by a work activity".

Stumpmaster was sentenced under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

The maximum penalty was a fine not exceeding $1.5 million.