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Health and Safety Risks in Gardening

As spring and summer arrive and the weather warms up, gardening becomes a popular pastime for many once again. During the autumn and winter months, gardens often get neglected as the cold weather puts many off from going out to perform tasks such as clearing leaves.

Despite being quite a sedate activity for most of the time, gardening still has a great variety of health and safety risks, particularly from some of the tools and implements that are used. The danger posed by sharp objects such as shears and secateurs is obvious, and automated blades in machinery like lawnmowers and chainsaws can cause serious injury in sufficient safety precautions are not followed and the equipment used correctly. Other health and safety issues include things like the use of hazardous substances (weedkiller, lawnmower petrol etc) which could harm if coming into contact with the skin or accidentally ingested, along with manual handing dangers if heavy items need to be moved or carried, such as clearing heavy paving slabs or carrying equipment.

As well as being a recreational activity, many people perform the maintenance of natural landscapes as their occupation. These workers will face these particular dangers virtually every day, and often using more powerful and potentially more dangerous equipment. To give an example, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) say that workers in the forestry industry are six times more likely to be killed at work than somebody in the construction industry, which shows how dangerous certain types of outdoor occupations are. For these people, being sufficiently trained and attending health and safety courses can be the difference between life and death, either for themselves or for fellow workers nearby.

Certain high risk activities may require a permit to work (PTW) system to be implemented, in which case those involved in creating or working to the system will require permit to work training in order to understand exactly what a permit to work system is and how to ensure that it is implemented and followed correctly in order to prevent an accident from occurring.

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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