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Not filling in forms is the biggest risk

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As you sit down with a sheaf of risk assessment sheets, copying out the same risks from the previous job you did, don't take the task lightheartedly. If someone gets hurt and you have failed to perform your allotted CDM tasks, you will be treated as more of a threat to society than Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair or Jack 'The Hat' McVitie, but you won't get a cool name and you will be more likely to go to prison. So, no matter how absurd the supposed risk, write it down.

Research shows that the health and safety file is now the biggest cause of accidents in construction; it typically weighs 25kg, more than a dense concrete block, and when used to wedge the site office door open it constitutes a severe trip hazard.

Working next to waterways, precautions should be taken against Wiles'disease, often present in rats'urine. On the average site you are more likely to suffer a chocolate digestive overdose than catch Wiles'disease, but fail to fill in the form and you could soon be wishing you were up to your neck in rats'urine.

Some of the most extreme risks can't be written down. The risk, for example, that the delinquent working at height was clearing tables at a burger restaurant until three days ago and does not know a nail gun from a blowtorch, or the risk that the World Cup kicks off while the job is on site next door to a large, welcoming pub.

When the planning supervisor suggests 'permanent scaffolding over the whole building in case someone wants to refix a loose slate in five years time', you might find it tempting to ask how safe it would be if you were to sew them into a leather sack with an angry wolverine and throw them in the canal. All they will do is give you another form to fill in.

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