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Health and Safety - Workspace and Working Area

The area where workers are going about their duties can have a great effect on their health and safety or, more specifically, the chances of an accident happening or their health adversely affected. Most of the issues will involve a workspace which is too small.

One of the main problems of a workspace which is too small will be the insufficient amount of space in which to move around. Workers may be cramped for room and sat awkwardly, which could not only cause stress levels to rise if they get flustered at having no space to work properly, but can also involve manual handling issues if the workspace is inadequate and does not allow sufficient freedom of movement or requires the employee to sit or stand in an awkward way whilst they work.

Just as employees need freedom of movement at their own workstation, they also need enough space to easily be able to move past other workstations and pieces of equipment. This is especially true if their place of work includes dangerous machinery such as cutting apparatus, where if they were to accidentally knock into a person's arm or workbench they could cause that person to suffer a serious injury. There is also an increased chance of inadvertently coming into contact with buttons and switches if the room is small and people have to squeeze past everything to move around.

A crowded room will have numerous obstructions which will hinder any escape in the event of an emergency evacuation such as an outbreak of fire or the release of a hazardous chemical substance. Having workers needing to overcome these obstacles and competing with each other to get to the exit will increase the time taken to get outside and could be the difference between life and death.

A small room is also likely to get hot, particularly in the summer months when the temperature outside is high. Not only can this cause discomfort for workers, and may even breach certain health and safety legislation if conditions get too hot, but may also cause equipment and machinery to overheat. At worst, it will simply cease to function, but there is also a risk of fire or explosion if it malfunctions. Small workplaces with many machines crammed into it may also not have sufficient power sockets to plug them all into, which again could cause a fire to start if the sockets are overloaded with multi-socket adapters.

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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