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Health and Safety Risks From a Paper Shredder

A paper shredder, also frequently known as a document shredder, is a piece of equipment which will be found in most offices throughout the world. Whilst it does not have a reputation as being the most dangerous piece of equipment known to man, it can still cause a nasty injury to a person if certain care and precautions are not taken.

A paper shredder works by drawing paper through rotating cutters, with many models activating automatically when the paper is inserted into the opening. This means that loose clothing or long hair can get caught and drawn into the shredder, particularly if it is already in use and shredding paper. Precautions such as containing long hair in a hair net, tucking in loose clothing, or removing items such as ties and jewellery should always be taken.

The cutters will obviously be sharp in order to efficiently and effectively cut the paper numerous sheets at a time. Many shredders will also be capable of shredding a plastic credit card and that will require extremely sharp blades. This means that the risk of cuts and lacerations is extremely high when a person has their hand close to the cutters even when they are stationary, which will be when they remove the cover to empty the shredded paper or try and perform maintenance on the machine such as removing clogged paper which is jamming the mechanism. It is imperative that the machine is disconnected from the mains electricity supply before this is done to ensure that the sharp cutters do not start up whilst the person's hand is inside the shredder otherwise there is a risk of serious injury.

Whilst there are manual paper shredders which are powered by winding a handle, the majority run on electricity. This means that they share the same risks as other items of electrical equipment in the form of electric shocks and the potential to start fires.

The shredding of paper will also create dust/tiny fibres in the receptacle. When this is emptied the dust can be thrown into the air and breathed in by the person doing the emptying. Although unlikely to do much harm in a small dose on its own, like other COSHH dust risks over time the cumulative effects may cause harm to their health.

The NEBOSH General Certificate course will deal with general risks from various pieces of work equipment and how they can pose a threat to a person's health and safety in a place of work.




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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