Common incidents on-site and how to reduce the risk

The more often you are exposed to a risk, the less your brain perceives the significance of the risk. The level of risk has not changed. Remember how your first time on a busy worksite felt, all those things going on around you. That level of danger is still there. As you have become constantly exposed to it your mind starts to ignore things it thinks are no longer relevant so you have to consciously pay attention to the ever-changing worksite environment. This is how many of the common injuries happen, the brain switches off and you go into ‘autopilot’. 

Common incidents: 

  • Hitting your body on an object – This can be anything from hitting your head on scaffolding, grazing your leg or catching your arm on a protruding object.
  • Manual handling – Lower back strains and sprains, shoulder injuries, torn muscles, and ligaments. Muscle injuries can have lengthy healing times and can be crippling.
  • Nail guns – Lack of regular equipment servicing, sufficient training, and PPE can result in penetration injuries most commonly to the hands. These injuries can cause permanent damage.
  • Hand tools – Commonly used tools such as hammers, hand saws and angle grinders. . Injuries usually result due to tools being dropped or misused. 
  • Slips/trips – Uneven ground surfaces, poor housekeeping, incorrect footwear, and weather conditions are common causes for slips and trips.

Corrective actions and recommendations

Hit body on object 

  • Plan tasks prior to carrying them out
  • Assess the surroundings and adjust work tasks accordingly
  • Take time navigating around the site
  • Think about what you’re doing, not what you’re going to do
  • Check to see if any surfaces, sharp edges or protruding objects need to be protected or removed

Manual handling 

  • Plan lifts prior to lifting loads, and ensure the path is clear 
  • Use mechanical aids to assist with lifting wherever possible
  • Consider splitting heavier loads and minimising the distance the load is carried
  • Adjust the work area to eliminate awkward positions and overreaching
  • Warm up/stretch before each work day and after rest periods (lunch) – especially when the weather is colder 
  • Do not lift beyond abilities. Everyone is different in terms of what they can safely lift. Determine the weight and consider other alternatives as required. Such as a two person lift. 
  • Train workers in safe manual handling techniques
  • Ensure appropriate footwear is worn

Nail gun 

  • Ensure the right nail gun is selected for the task
  • Regular inspection and maintenance to ensure the equipment is in good working condition
  • Consider the trigger system setting and the experience level of the operator. Bump fire or multi shot mode have a higher risk of injury.
  • Do not fire in line with another person or into knots in the timber
  • Provide adequate instruction, training and information to workers on safe handling and use of nail guns. 
  • Provide direct supervision to inexperienced workers until they are deemed competent
  • Discuss the risk of using nail guns on-site in your toolbox meetings
  • Pre-starts should be completed every day
  • Task specific PPE to be worn (Gloves, boots, safety glasses, etc)

Hand Tools 

  • Visually inspect the tool before use. Any sign of damage/wear and tear, then replace the tool (if it’s bent, don’t bend it back – replace it!)
  • Take your time – ensure you have a firm grip on the tool and check your surroundings.
  • Use the correct tool for the job
  • Review your hand placement. Ensure your free hand is as far away from the area as possible. It may be needed to hold the item steady, but ensure it is far away from blades/hammerheads as possible. 
  • Ensure appropriate PPE is worn for the task and the equipment used (Gloves, hard hat, etc)


  • Slow down in adverse wear conditions – If the worksite is dangerous, consider whether it is safe to work (flooded/boggy) or to wait until it has dried
  • Things such as grit tape (or similar) can help provide grip in slippery areas such as outdoor ramps
  • Ensure housekeeping is maintained to remove obstacles and create clear pathways
  • Wipe/dry wet flooring wherever possible (especially tiles/lino/varnished flooring)
  • Plan tasks prior to carrying them out and avoid rushing
  • Appropriate footwear should be worn


Of course, reach out to HazardCo and speak to one of our expert Health and Safety Advisors if you have any questions or need more support on ways to combat common incidents on-site. You can contact us on 1800 954 702.

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