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Electrical Health and Safety

Whilst electricity is essential for powering tools and equipment both in the workplace and in the home, it is also extremely dangerous and the potential risks can easily be forgotten or taken for granted because of its abundance. People are so used to simply plugging a machine into a socket, using it and then unplugging that they forget there is a serious risk of death or injury from electricity.

These hazards are both direct and indirect in nature. Directly, electricity can cause burns to body tissue, as well as respiratory failure if an organ such as the heart is damaged. Either of these situations can quickly result in death, and will depend upon conditions such as the size of the voltage and current that the body is exposed to. Electricity which flows through the body and causes conditions such as muscle spasms can cause indirect injuries for example falling from height, collapsing and hitting the head or pulling heavy objects down on top of themselves as they fall. A person who is unconscious is also vulnerable to risks such as drowning if the electric shock was caused by a leaking overhead pipe which is now causing the room to fill up with water, burning or smoke inhalation from a fire which has broken out as a result of sparks given off. In fact, the dangers to health and safety are practically endless when a person is rendered unconscious from an electrical shock, for example being eaten by a bear if the shock occurs from a faulty electrical generator out in the wilderness!

The common causes of electrical fires and shocks include damaged and poorly maintained equipment (e.g. bare wires), incorrect voltage supply (a particular risk if machinery is used in different countries), inadequate/no earthing, coming into contact with water, insufficient electrical testing (e.g. PAT testing), overheating, not understood or not followed a permit to work procedure which keeps electricity supply turned off whilst work takes place, and many more.

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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