This is your August 2020 Be Safe brief 

There are two versions of the safety brief – a video version and a text version.

Please watch or read the version that you prefer, and then click at the bottom of the page to confirm that you have understood it.

Page contents


Text version

This month's brief includes

  • an asbestos safety alert
  • child dies on construction site

This month’s ‘See it, share it’ is a thank you to Seb Borgers

Seb works on our Skanska M25 contract installing emergency refuge areas. M25 works
He noticed that a previous contractor, who had dug trial holes as part of a pre-works survey, had left the holes exposed. Seb got barriers from our stores, and demarked the area to make sure no-one fell in and was injured. 

Thank you, Seb – this an example of how we look after each other.

Please share observations and good practice by emailing 

Changes in work environment

Often the environment changes when you are at work, or the task changes, or something happens that is unexpected.

It is understandable to think you can cope – you’re experienced, you know what you’re doing: you just sort it out and get on with it. 
But don’t. 

There may be some other factor that you don’t know about, that could change everything. Stop work. Tell your supervisor.

With you, they will assess the changed situation, and then decide if the task needs further controls to make sure it is still safe. 

Just as important, they can tell everyone else about the changes, and about any additional controls that have to be added. 

So when you stop work because of a change, you aren’t just protecting yourself, you’re also protecting your colleagues on your site, maybe members of the public, and even people on other sites.

That’s why it’s one of our four Be Safe rules:                

  • Be fit for work
  • Get a brief before you start work
  • Report anything unsafe
  • Stop work if anything changes 

Please don’t feel you’ll get into trouble for stopping because of a change. VGC will be behind you all the way – nothing is as important as keeping people safe. So if you have any questions, ask your VGC labour manager or email


Network Rail has issued a safety alert on work in buildings that may have asbestos materials in them. This is actually relevant to all work in older buildings, if it could disturb asbestos-containing materials.

If these materials are disturbed or damaged they can release asbestos fibres – if you breathe these in, they can cause major health problems.

So if you are carrying out tasks in older buildings that involve disturbing the fabric of the building, stop and ask if it has been checked for asbestos. Do not proceed unless you have this assurance. If you have any doubts, contact your VGC line manager.


Hand washing

The NHS says that washing hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds is the best way to kill the coronavirus. Soap breaks down the virus and kills it. Use hand sanitiser if you cannot access soap and water. 

wiping down tool handlesSharing tools

Please avoid sharing tools if you can, and make sure you wear gloves to protect yourself. Keep your own pen with you for signing, and pressing access buttons. Wipe down the handles of tools before and after you work with them.

If you have any questions on this, please call your VGC labour or line manager, or alternatively, email

Child dies after accident on construction site

In mid-July a 10-year-old boy died after gaining access onto a worksite in Glasgow.

There is an ongoing investigation, but it appears that local people had concerns about the site fence.

Children will always look for adventure, especially during the school holidays, and they may think a construction site will provide this. So please ensure all site boundaries are secure.

If you see something that a child or other member of the public could use to gain access to the site, please report it using your project’s reporting procedure, and tell your VGC line manager.

M4 worksAnd finally, a word about road worker abuse

There has been a reported increase in abuse aimed at road workers across the highways industry. 

If you are at work and you or your colleagues get any abuse please report it. Tell your VGC line manager and also use your project’s reporting procedure.

Even if you think it was just a few words, please do not ignore it. Many people who suffer abuse at work later report negative mental health issues, and we need to understand how widespread the issue is.

It is not acceptable that workers going about their daily business are abused, either verbally or physically. 

Please share observations and good practice by emailing

Confirmation form

Please confirm that you have watched or read the safety brief and understood it.


If you have any questions about the safety brief, contact your line manager or the HSQE team on 01895 671 892 or