We ask everyone to share good practice and close calls.

Workplace accidents are often the result of unsafe acts being performed. There are set procedures and rules that are to be followed whilst doing your job to reduce these accidents occurring. When rules are not followed correctly, that is when an unplanned event takes place resulting in a close call or accident.

Project health and safety teams keep track of close calls and incidents, from those records the health and safety teams can track trends and causes. By doing this they can lead investigations to help reduce the risk of further unsafe conditions or acts taking place making the work place a safer environment.

Therefore, it is important for you, the work force to speak up to unsafe acts and report them to the site team through the observation reporting system or verbally to a supervisor.

Reporting of good behaviours and conditions informs the management and safety team of the safe approach by the work force and where to recognise employees and best practice.

Why do we need to get observations?

Observations helps collect and share information on incidents and issues that can cause injuries, environmental incidents, damage to property or health hazards within the workplace. An observation could be a falling object narrowly missing you, a trip hazard in a walkway or inadequate welfare facilities on a project.

By raising observations this allows the project team to identify the issue and update the workforce on the preventive measures or close out actions taken to avoid a similar occurrence.

There are also good practice observations that can be placed on a project. These can highlight the good work ethic of fellow employees, correct procedures being followed, health and safety rules being adhered to and any improvement ideas that you may have seen on other projects.

What do we do with observations after we receive them?

When an observation is reported, the project team will be notified and will be able to remove the immediate risk. The team will then understand where improvements are needed on the and focus future assurance measures on these areas.

This is typically through identifying high-risk areas and the possible steps to prevent the occurrence of a more serious incident or reoccurrence.

The information is used in formulating the preventive actions and trend analysis of all observation raised. The report’s information is then used to make the workplace healthier and safer for all the employees by continuous improvements of these focus areas.

If ignored, observations can have severe consequences such as more serious incidents and accidents and possible health risks to the work force.

Here are improvements that have been made as a result of submitted observations:

  • Observation raised regarding inadequate welfare. A meeting was held with safety leads the on project and additional welfare units were hired for site team.
  • Welfare was too small and used as canteen and office space. Identified to client and measures put in place to rectify.
  • Observations were being sent for vermin on a project. Discussed with project team who issued a toolbox talk on hygiene to the work force and are contacting pest control services.
  • Start of shift briefing only covered general activities, no point of work briefing for specific hazards was done. A form was created to use at each work area to assess the hazards and brief to the workers involved In the activity.
  • Lorry driver was working on a low loader lorry without edge protection. Stopped the worker and explained the risks, he agreed to install edge protection before entering back onto trailer.
  • Suncream on site did not have any information on SPF factor, ingredients, water resistance and reapplication. Laminated cards were placed at all sun cream dispensers with information for use and ingredients.

How can you submit an observation?

There are several methods of raising observations dependent on the project you are currently working on. This is due to clients using different methods for reporting. The following methods commonly used are:

  • A company or project specific mobile phone app
  • A QR code reporting system
  • Written observations cards on site
  • A reporting email address BeSafe@VGCgroup.co.uk

To raise an observation using a mobile phone app should be straight forward. You can do this by downloading the App onto your phone. Uploading an observation using the mobile app ensures the observation is raised to the site management straight away.

The use of a QR code observation reporting system will require you to point your phone camera at the QR code to activate the webpage, complete the form and send off the observation. The QR code webpage can also be added to the phone home screen and work like a mobile phone app.

Written observation cards maybe used on projects alongside phone apps/QR codes. These can be filled at in observation stations or wherever you prefer. These are then placed in the observation stations or collection boxes on site and picked up by the site management regularly to be reviewed. These sometimes can take long to action as they are not directly sent to the management team.

An email address is also sometimes used, this may be used to raise an observation directly to your employer rather than the project you are currently working. We at VGC have a observation reporting email address: BeSafe@VGCgroup.co.uk

See it, share it winners 2022

  • January – Sam Taylor on our HS2 SCS Project. Sam noticed a skip lorry about to leave site with waste above the skip line and was able to contact the gate and ask them to hold the lorry until the load security could be resolved.

  • February – Karen Coles on our Skanska M42 Project. Karen noticed some scaffolding had been left by the corner of the compound office creating a potential trip hazard. Karen spoke with the works manager and ensured the scaffolding was segregated while awaiting removal.

  • March – Salmon Negash on our HS2 SCS Project. Salmon identified that wildlife were feeding from the sites open skips at night time. Salmon spoke with the foreman and had the skips changed for closed skips.

  • April – Niz Khaddaj on our HS2 SCS Project. Niz arrived at his place of work for testing concrete piles and identified the area was already congested with other activities. Niz decided his safe system of work needed reviewing before he commenced.

  • May – Mark Gleeson on our HS2 SCS Project. Mark noticed one of the fire alarm units at Gate B had been damaged in the recent high winds and had become disconnected from the system. Mark notified the general foreman who then got an engineer out to rectify.

  • June – Niz Khaddaj on our HS2 SCS Project. Niz identified some sharp objects in material he was plate testing. Niz notified the engineer, lab technicians and general foreman to ensure this information was shared so all are aware and prevent future injury.

  • July – Diana Sobieraj on our HS2 SCS Project. Diana identified the food waste was being placed in general waste and recycling waste which was contaminating the bins. Diana has requested a designated food waste bin be provided.

  • August – Steven Wright suggested that the bellmouth into Oak Farm could be widened to allow better access for vehicle movements.
  • September- Abdullah Hussain saw a water bowser that had been left unattended and was overspilling. Abdullah turned the standpipe tap off and raised the issue to the site team.
  • October – Navinder Chumber ensured hazardous areas were appropriately de-marked.

  • November – Surdip Singh identified and removed a trip hazard. The trip hazard – a batch of pallets – were placed in a waste storage area.

Observations award winners: VGC Projects

  • Ben Keegan was recognised by client Balfour Beatty for submitting an observation when he spotted a delivery driver working on the rear of their low loader without the necessary edge protection in place. Ben was able to stop the driver at the time and ensure the edge protection was installed while also highlighting the risks from falling at height. As a result, Ben won observation of the month for July 2022.


  • Bobby Hayre was also recognised by Balfour Beatty for a close call observation raised regarding a business owner who approached the Traffic Marshal, which won observation of the month award for August.Balfour Beatty HSES specialist, Paul Lucking said:”We all agreed that thanks to your calm approach on the night and further report this prevented further issues and highlighted an area which had been previously overlooked. As a result, we were able to speak with the business owner to understand their concerns and come to an agreement with working times which minimised the impact to their business.”