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Construction Health and Safety - Disc Cutters

Along with tools such as a pneumatic drill, another piece of equipment which has the potential to cause serious damage to health is a disc cutter, as this can cause injury to a person in a number of different ways. It is therefore imperative that construction site workers not only receive health and safety training in general and training on the equipment's specific operation, but that they also apply common sense and ensure that they put into practice what they have learned on the courses or training sessions.

The most obvious danger is that posed by the cutting blade itself. The sharpness and speed that it rotates will cause severe damage to a person if it were to come into contact with them. Care must be taken to avoid this happening, as well as making use of protective guards, adequate space around the work area and not trying to rush the job.

The cutting process is likely to create sparks, dust and/or flying debris as it cuts through the material. Sparks can be a fire hazard if they come into contact with flammable items or liquid such as petrol or oil; dust can cause damage to a person's respiratory system or aggravate conditions such as asthma, whilst flying debris can cause eye damage if it were to hit either the operator or a person nearby in the eye. These risks can be lessened by taking steps such as ensuring no flammable materials or sources of fuel are anywhere near the area where the disc cutter is being operated, wearing suitable eye protection such as goggles or face masks, whilst the hazard posed by dust can be combated by dampening down the material being cut if possible or utilising specific dust vacuums or ventilation hoods to take away the dust at source and stop it being released into the air where it can be inhaled and cause damage. N.B. For more information on the control of hazardous substances (COSHH), please click here.

Some discs can be changed for others of different sizes. In this case it is important to ensure that the disc is securely in place before cutting commences, otherwise the high-speed rotating disc may become loose, fly off and cause serious injury. Even disc cutters where the blade is fixed and cannot be interchanged need to be sufficiently maintained to ensure that their disc is still securely attached at all times.

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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