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Using an Accident Book to Improve Workplace Health and Safety


Introduction

When it comes to health and safety in the workplace, and indeed any location, prevention is far more preferable than dealing with the aftermath and consequences. For other issues it is likely that with a bit of work and effort things can go back to exactly how they were, e.g. profits may have dipped last year but are back to the desired level this year, but for accidents and incidents relating to health and safety, they may change people's lives forever... or end up taking it. These negative impacts can be physical in the form of permanent scarring or loss of limbs, but can also be psychological in the form of trauma experienced through witnessing a horrific accident at work, or indeed suffering one themselves.



The Necessity for Hazard Identification

Being able to identify potential dangers is one of the most important attributes and skills of a health and safety manager, as their ability to spot a hazard before it causes harm allows the danger to be nullified or at the very least minimised as far as is reasonably practical before it causes injury, illness or death to a worker or member of the public.



Learning from Accidents and Near Misses

Whilst the main objective is to prevent accidents, the unfortunate truth is that they will inevitably happen even with the most stringent and comprehensive health and safety procedures and safeguards in place. Health and safety training and precautions can only minimise the potential for accidents; it can never eliminate them entirely within a workplace. Individual hazards may be eliminated by removing certain elements, but the only way to remove every single risk would be to close down, which is obviously not a viable option.

Therefore accidents and near misses will occur. Whilst it can be tempting to try and forget about them as they can be viewed as a failure on the part of accident prevention, it is vital that they are fully investigated and lessons are learned which can stop it from happening again. If the incident is relatively minor, the knowledge acquired could prevent a similar occurrence in the future but on a much larger scale which would otherwise have killed or injured many people.



Making Use of the Accident Book

One place where information can be gleaned from is the company's accident book. All accidents, even minor ones, should be logged in here to provide a written record of pertinent information such as what happened, to whom and when. Most of the accidents will be relatively minor, but even so they can provide a valuable insight into the dangers of the workplace. Patterns may emerge from looking through the book, which may highlight that accidents occur more frequently on a certain piece of equipment, at certain times of the day, to certain groups of people (e.g. young workers), or maybe even to a specific individual! Not only can this emphasise which areas to focus the introduction and improvement of safety features and systems, but may also bring to light the requirement for additional or more detailed health and safety training for one or more staff members to prevent them suffering a more serious accident in the future.

Rather than just relying upon what they can see by conducting workplace inspections, managers responsible for health and safety need to make use of all the resources and information available to them. This includes information contained in the accident book as well as interviews and meetings with employees who can provide valuable insights into the dangers present in the workplace down on the shop floor. The more facts and information the health and safety manager has, the more comprehensive and effective their health and safety implementations are likely to be, which ultimately results in a safer place of work for all.




Selected Courses

Please see below for a selection of health and safety courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is the flagship NEBOSH qualification, and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals.

The NEBOSH National Diploma provides the core health and safety knowledge (transferable across industry, commerce and the public sector) which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an occupational health and safety practitioner.

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NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular and widely-held health and safety qualifications in the UK. It is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who require an understanding of general health and safety issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK, along with the identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge. The general content of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus means it is suitable and relevant for those working in virtually any industry, and is often used as a solid foundation for those going on to further study and specialising in a particular area such as construction site health and safety or fire safety.

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IOSH Managing Safely Course

The IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for managers and supervisors of organisations in virtually all industry sectors, in order to give them all they need to know to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace.

Recently updated, the new high impact programme covers key health and safety issues, and includes references to international case studies.

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CITB Site Management SMSTS Course

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is one of the most popular health and safety training courses, and is intended for construction site managers, project managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies.

Client-based personnel would also benefit from attending the SMSTS course.

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CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course

This course is for those who have entered, or are about to enter, the construction and civil engineering industry as a member of the workforce to help them understand the potential hazards that they face at work on site. It aims to provide a practical summary of health and safety, welfare and environmental health and safety issues.

The course also allows delegates to identify their individual responsibilities for looking after themselves and others, what the employer's duties are and what should be done if they think anyone's health and safety is being put at risk.

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