Preventable incidents spotlight

Prevention is the best form of protection. Mitigating risk and preventing incidents is best achieved through strong health and safety processes that educate everyone on-site. Unfortunately, as people become busier, adhering to a compliance process sometimes falls by the wayside. Here are some incidents that could have been avoided by simply following a defined health and safety process. In particular completing a simple site induction would have made a big difference.

A civil contractor was fined £250,000 after a self-employed ground worker lost an arm following a disc cutter accident.

A self-employed ground worker was contracted to complete groundworks at a new building site. The contractor was not properly inducted and therefore the civil contractor was not aware of their lack of experience with heavy machinery. While using a petrol disc cutter the saw ‘kicked up’ and caused a severe laceration to the worker’s arm.

The civil contractor should have been aware that the worker had no previous experience of undertaking such a task. This should have been identified and addressed at his induction or at the time the work was allocated to him.

HSE inspector Georgina Symons said: “The contractor’s injuries have been life changing. This serious incident could have easily been avoided if basic safeguards had been put in place.”

If an induction process was enforced the workers lack of experience would have been flagged. Sadly, the civil contractor’s health and safety process was not correctly communicated to subcontractors on-site.


Waste management company fined £140,000 after an agency worker suffered lower leg amputation after being struck by a moving excavator.

A worker, who had been observing a tipping activity in the blind spot of the excavator, had his leg crushed by the machine which had reversed to accommodate another vehicle tipping off waste in an adjacent part of the site.

The HSE’s investigation found no evidence of any system whereby new agency hired staff were shown the site’s safety rules, meaning the injured worker was unaware he was to stand in the safe refuge areas whilst vehicles were moving around the site.

If the agency workers had easy access to the site safety process, they would have been made aware of these critical hazards and measures to mitigate them. An appropriate site induction including a hazard register would have addressed this.


A Director of a construction company has been sentenced after a sub-contractor suffered serious injuries when a stack of plasterboards fell on him at a construction site.

Sub-contractors were moving sheets of plasterboard from the ground floor to the second floor of a house undergoing refurbishment. As there was no staircase in place, they were stacking the plasterboard against an unsecured ladder and sliding them up to the floor above. During the process the plasterboard fell on the worker, fracturing his pelvis.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Andrew Cousins said: “This was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the director to devise and implement a suitable safe system of work.”

A safe system of work should have been communicated through a site induction. This could have prevented a dangerous system of work and the unfortunate injury.


Using Forsite makes it easier than ever to ensure all site visitors are inducted and made aware of any hazards. We do this by providing site managers with complete “real time” transparency around who is on-site and their compliance with the required induction and check in processes. In conjunction with visibility, we provide site managers with the capability to remediate non-compliance quickly through system prompts directly to site visitors.

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