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Construction Site Health and Safety - Lifting

The activities of a construction site are almost certain to at one time or another involve items or materials which need to be lifted up with either mobile or tower cranes. As with other activities, effective preparation and planning is key to working safely and keeping everyone else safe nearby. This will include factors such as risk assessments, permits to work if necessary, the assignment of competent persons to manage the lift, and controlling access to the area where the lifting is taking place to keep unauthorised or unwary persons out so that they do not become injured from falling objects or from the machinery itself.

The immediate area around the crane needs consideration. The ground upon which it is situated needs to be firm and level, with suitable load spreading decking beneath it in order to provide stability whilst lifting is taking place, otherwise the crane may topple over or slide. If this were to happen, the heavy load may begin to swing wildly and either hit nearby objects or come loose and fall to the ground. Neither of these outcomes is desirable, for if the load was to strike a scaffold it could cause injury or death to those working on it, especially if it were to collapse. There may also be overhead electricity or telephone cables in close proximity which could be damaged if the crane were to come in contact with them. Minimum safe distances need to be adhered to, as damaged live electricity cables would be extremely dangerous to everyone nearby.

Because of the many risks and dangers that lifting heavy loads entails, it is an operation which has numerous health and safety considerations. In fact, it has its own specific set of regulations in the form of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998. These health and safety requirements with respect to lifting equipment are not industry specific and apply to nearly all lifting operations.

It is imperative that not only should operatives be trained in the use of the equipment, but that all those who will be involved in the lift or working nearby receive suitable health and safety training in order to work safely and reduce the chances of an accident as much as reasonably possible. There are numerous health and safety courses available for construction site workers including the NEBOSH Construction Certificate and the CITB SMSTS courses and SSSTS courses. There are also non-accredited courses which concentrate specifically on a certain issue such as manual handling training, coshh and hazardous substances, permit to work training and fire safety courses.

Other health and safety courses which may be of interest include:

  • NEBOSH General Certificate
  • NEBOSH Fire Certificate
  • IOSH Working Safely
  • COSHH Training

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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