In November 2000 Paul was working as a Process Operator and Engineer at the Recycled Fibre Plant in Kemsley, Kent. He was involved in a safety incident which resulted in his left arm being severed above the elbow.

Paul’s story was shown as part of the BBC’s 999 programme as his arm was retrieved and reattached. Whilst Paul has his arm he is disabled and limited in what he is able to do. The incident has also had a profound effect on Paul psychologically and socially; affecting his relationships with his wife, family, work mates and friends. Paul’s story is incredibly raw and powerful. It acts as a reminder of the fundamental importance of key safety behaviours such as risk assessment, communication, and lock off procedures. It also highlights the need to think about custom and practice in the workplace and the need to encourage people to question and challenge.

There are many opportunities for Paul’s story to be told. As a part of: a safety conference, a site tour and perhaps most effectively as part of a Hastam bespoke Working and Behaving Safely (WaBs)or Leading and Behaving safely (LaBs) event. With the opportunity to question the speaker regarding the details of their accident and its consequences no attendee can escape the reality of human error or the tragic outcomes that can result from such incidents.

When effectively designed, the encounter with Paul can be life changing as delegates are forced to relate their own safety behaviours to those that resulted in personal tragedy for the speaker. These occasions are clearly emotional and provide the ideal opportunity for an experienced facilitator to assist delegates to realise the risks that they take together with the potential adverse consequences and influence them to adopt a different approach to their personal safety.

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Paul Mahoney