Based on an incident that happened in Ireland, this story explores some of the human factors that can influence a culture of safety on site. Through live interaction and facilitated discussion we focus on attitudes, choices and the influence of planning and contractor dynamics on risk awareness and safe practices. Used in a workshop setting this scenario also allows participants to examine their own role in influencing a culture of safety through effective safety conversations.

We follow the story of Donal and his colleague Peter who has recently been promoted to the role of supervisor. During a time of industry growth and potential business expansion, they are keen to bring their new project in on schedule and safely. Working at height they must stay vigilant when it comes to hazards and risks however with so many factors influencing their choices things don’t go according to plan, with tragic consequences.

Responsibility | Safety Conversations | Culture


DONAL: I hate working in places that are still operational. Always causes issues. Especially a busy site like this.

PETER: The area is well marked and we’ve got barriers around it. We can have someone spotting from the ground when you are working there. That’s just the way it is. We’ve cleared that with Conroys so if you get any grief come to me.

DONAL: Will do.

PETER: They understand we need to do this job properly and safely. It’s in their interests to.

DONAL: Fair enough.

PETER: Although we do need to make sure that we cause minimal disruption to the day to day running of their business.

DONAL: They’re a big client and we need to keep them happy.

PETER: And they don’t let you forget it.

DONAL: Been getting it in the neck have you Peter?

PETER: Nothing I can’t handle.

DONAL: Rather you than me.

PETER: Now, we’ve got a walkway so you can get between the bays. You just need to be extra careful when you’re working on that side of the roof. And don’t be going off the walkway.

DONAL: Of course. I know how fragile that cement sheeting can be.

PETER: I had a look around the site and a lot of these corrugated roofs are in really bad nick.

DONAL: That’s why we’re replacing the sheeting.​​​​​​​

PETER: I wish we’d started this job a month earlier. It’s freezing.

DONAL: Why was the work pushed back anyway?

PETER: You know how these things are. We were told it was going to happen sooner and then… Between you and me I think another company came in with a better price, so Tommy had to renegotiate. And the client was pushing for a deadline. Then we had to go back and make sure the scaffolders could fit us in. Nothing is ever easy.

DONAL: You’re right ther