Nipping Off

Key Themes

  • Constant vigilance/seeing the bigger picture
  • Intervention/safety conversations
  • Safety at work/confined areas
  • Hazard awareness
  • Reporting Incidents
  • Consequences/second victim

Target Audience

Anyone at any level involved in the ground-works stage of a construction site.


Faced with fast approaching deadlines and late deliveries a team of steel fixers start to feel the pressures of the job increase. The supervisor Steve Gibbons tries to stay on top of things, but time and the constraints of a tight inner city site are not on his side. Lee and John, two members of Steve’s team decide to up the pace, with disastrous consequences.


Investigator: So what happened at four thirty?

Steve: I asked them if the cage was ready and they said it was. So I told them to get it lifted into place. The banks man gave the order to lift. As it left the ground it swung a little. Lee started shouting about something falling, but I couldn’t see anything at first. The banks man must not have noticed either.

Investigator: Didn’t the banks man hear Lee shouting?

Steve: He can’t have. I know him; he’s bloody good at his job. He would have stopped as soon as he thought anything was wrong.

Investigator: What was it that Lee could see?

Steve: I think I remember him shouting rebar. The Police said it was a piece of rebar that fell, but I’m not a hundred percent sure.

Investigator: A piece of the rebar broke free from the cage?

Steve: No, I doubt that. Once it’s all nipped off, it’s unlikely to come apart. The guys know what they are doing when it comes to nipping up. It must have been a piece of rebar left on top of the cage.

Investigator: Nobody noticed that before the lift commenced?

Steve: They can’t have.