From an office kitchen spillage to trip hazards on site, no matter where we work, we are exposed to risks every day. These hazards, which have the potential to become incidents, are known in Health and Safety terminology as ‘Close Calls’ and it’s important to be aware of the part we can all play in spotting them.

Wendy Green, SHE & Compliance manager at TSP Projects knows all about Close Calls. Her team ensure that everyone in the business understands the significance of personal responsibility when it comes to safety. As part of Rail Safety Week, Wendy is running Close Call workshops, reminding us all to Recognise, Respond and Report.

After watching the Close Call video featuring a variety of hypothetical scenarios and how they could have been prevented, we asked her to tell us more about how we can all do our bit to improve safety.


What are close calls?

The official definition is ‘An undesired/unplanned event which, under slightly different circumstances, could have resulted in harm to people, property loss/damage, or damage to the environment that does not involve trains or on-track plant.’

Close calls affect us all. We are all exposed to them in our work environments on a daily basis and everyone has a responsibility to report them.


What are some examples?

On site, a Close Call could include anything from an unlocked access gate, potentially leading to trespassing, to a loose catch pit lid where someone could fall and injure themselves.

In an office, common examples include spillages in kitchens and toilets, using mobile phones on stairs and items blocking walkways.

It’s not just work though where we need to be vigilant. In our day to day lives we still need to take ownership if we see something potentially dangerous. If you spot a puddle on the floor in the supermarket – don’t walk by, tell someone.


What are common Close Calls our site teams might encounter?

Working on site, our teams are exposed to plenty of potential dangers every day. Heavy machinery, tools and moving vehicles mean everyone on site needs to have excellent communication and awareness at all times.

The most common Close Calls usually involve trip hazards, such as discarded materials or vegetation blocking access or walkways. Reporting this quickly and dealing with the potential issue before it can cause harm is crucial and the responsibility of everyone on site.


What happens when Close Calls are reported?

This depends very much on the requirements of the individual site. There will always be an agreed protocol and everyone working on site should be fully aware of the process for reporting Close Calls – how to report and who to report to.

In an office environment, Close Calls should always be reported to the Health and Safety or SHE & Compliance team straight away.

Close Calls are recorded, monitored and analysed to look for trends and to continually find ways to improve safety in the working environment, whether through clearer signage, upgrades to equipment or changes to processes.


How do we demonstrate commitment to safety at TSP Projects?

We’re committed to safety across all our teams’ working environments. The SHE & Compliance team continually drive improvements through the business, ensuring that best practice for safety is always followed. We regularly brief teams the teams, provide advice and guidance for improvement and make sure the whole business is looked after – on-site and in our offices.

Getting involved in initiatives such as Rail Safety Week is brilliant for readdressing safety and putting a spotlight on the key issues which affect us all.