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An excellent toolbox talk to share with our colleagues courtesy of Cofely Fabricom.
This incident could have been easily avoided if the IP's hand was not in the line of fire. Make sure you utilise this excellent toolbox talk to prevent a similar injury which could have had the potential to be much worse.....
Riddor Reportable Hand Injury
First RIDDOR reportable accident in 2 years for Fabricom North East Area;
The Injured Person (IP) was assisting a Rigger along with a Mechanical Fitter in manoeuvring a piece of
equipment from the external cantilever landing platform on the 32m level of the development in the CU
100 building. The IP is employed as a labourer and was paired up with Mechanical Fitter for the day.
The operation was being carried out using a chain block. The item had to be moved approximately 6
meters through the doorway (See Fig 1.) Prior to the lift being carried out the equipment was tilted on its
side to allow it to fit through the opening. This created an additional hazard as the feet (brackets which fix
the equipment to the floor) protruded out beyond the body of the object.
While moving the feet snagged on the scaffold boards which were laid on the floor through the doorway.
In order to free up the snag and move the equipment through the doorway it had to be lifted a few
millimetres, during this process the IP was steadying the equipment (with both hands) to prevent it from
The equipment was lifted using a chain block to support and free it up from its entrapment. The equipment
then swung to the right hand side of the door catching the IP’s hand between the doorframe and the
equipment. At the time of the incident the IP was wearing the correct PPE, including general purpose nylon
gloves, appropriate footwear and overalls.
Fig 1 – Doorway the equipment was being manoeuvred through.
Chain blocks hung from the
head of the door.
Scaffold boards that the
equipment snagged on.
Riddor Reportable Hand Injury
Fig 2 – Equipment being manoeuvred during the lift.
The IP was assessed by Fabricom first aider shortly after the incident where he stated his hand was sore,
there was also minor swelling. There was a graze at the point of contact as well as some minor bruising to
the area. As the graze was bleeding it was cleaned, then dressed with a plaster. The IP reported that he
was experiencing very little pain of the hand and was happy to return to work. The IP carried on working
for the remainder of the day.
At 7.30am the following morning the IP was asked to report to the Fabricom health and safety office to
have his condition re-reviewed by all parties including the Jacobs’ Health and Safety Manager.
The injury was subjected to a further inspection by Fabricoms first aider and during this consultation it was
recommended that the IP went for an x-ray.
The x-ray concluded that the IP had experienced a hairline fracture of the second metacarpal on his right
hand. The medical centre also taped together IP’s index and middle fingers together.
The IP was given a course of antibiotics and asked to report back on the 27th June for a further x-ray to
ensure the fracture is healing.
The IP has not lost any time from work and has carried out normal duties which include standby fire and
entry activities. Due to the incident involving a fracture it was reported under RIDDOR.
So what went wrong?
The IP had not stopped and thought “WHAT IF” about the hazards and dangers involved to fully appreciate
what could have went wrong.
The IP should have avoiding placing hands within the pinch point area, another method of steadying the
equipment should have been sought, e.g. tag line / Push stick.
The risk assessment did not adequately cover the task in hand, e.g. the control of the pinch point hazard
The item was unwieldy and
difficult to manage in such an
Riddor Reportable Hand Injury
Corrective / Preventative Measures:
Fabricom to re-emphasise the importance of planning and assessing all lifting and manual handling
operations. Employees need to cover every eventuality and think about what could potentially go
wrong. If any unexpected issues arise which previously have not been thought about then the task
should be stopped (providing it is safe to do so) and a further assessment made to overcome the
issue in a safe manner.
Behavioural safety sessions have been delivered regarding hand safety to heighten awareness and
reduce complacency with regards to hand safety and putting them in the line of fire.
All risk assessments to be reviewed prior to submission to client to ensure they are suitable and
sufficient for the task in hand. Improve the control measures detailed on all risk assessments in
relation to pinch points,
The pre-task risk assessments should be utilized to identify pinch points and controls to be used to
The IP has a very positive attitude towards safety in general; he had carried out a pre-task risk assessment
for the day in relation to the activities on the 32m cantilever platform but failed to properly assess the risks
and potential outcome of the activity prior to starting this task.
Carrying out a point of work risk assessment as a team (involving all three individuals) prior to this
undertaking could have identified the chance that in manoeuvring a such an item thorough a tight opening
leaves the potential that your hands could end up in the line of fire and precautions could have been taken
to avoid such an injury.
During the induction process Fabricom emphasise the importance of hand safety and these injuries
represented the largest proportion of incidents in 2012. The golden rules for hand safety have been set up
to combat this, with the following being of particular relevance;-
Fabricom Golden Rules of Hand Safety – Number 6
Always keep hands away from pinch points and crushing hazards.