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How Can Computers Improve Health and Safety?


Introduction

The advent of the computer age has brought with it innumerable improvements to various areas of life. Whether it is a workplace or a home, there are virtually none these days in developed countries which do not have at least one in them, and usually have multiple computers and other microprocessor devices such as mobile telephones and calculators.

The computer has also revolutionised and improved the area of health and safety in a number of different ways. Some are only slight, whereas others have had more of an impact, but even so the organisation, implementation and protection which has been enabled thanks to computer technology has resulted in the saving of lives.

So what improvements have been made?



Computer Aided Design (CAD)

Using computers to design buildings, workspace layouts, machinery etc has significantly reduced the likelihood of a design fault being responsible for a health and safety incident as any issues should be identified and corrected at the design stage. In the past, architects and designers were able to calculate with a certain degree of accuracy whether new designs were possible, but there was still quite a large element of uncertainty which could only be tested when it was actually being built. Inevitably, this brought with it the potential for collapse which could cause serious injuries and death to workers and anyone else below.



Online Health and Safety Training

Although not suitable for comprehensive health and safety qualifications like the NEBOSH Diplomas or Certificates for instance, online training courses covering a particular area such as manual handling or fire safety can provide useful information to refresh previous staff training or provide simple introductions/overviews. To see our range of online health and safety training courses click the "Online Courses" button on the right hand side of the page.



Organisation

Before computers were invented information had to either be typed out or written by hand. This meant lots of paper which could easily be mislaid, or even if it was located it could take a long time to search for the desired information. As a result, more was attempted to be done from memory or estimations, which often led to mistakes and inappropriate actions. For instance, not knowing exactly how many people are employed in a particular section of the factory could lead to an insufficient number of emergency exits and fire fighting equipment.



Automated Safety Features

Computers and electronic devices have enabled the introduction of automated safety features which can activate almost instantly and prevent incidents from taking place. Computer monitoring through electronic sensors, and the subsequent automatic safety process which activates should those sensors detect abnormal readings, is perhaps the biggest improvement in health and safety that computers and electronics have made.

Being able to close valves, shut off electricity, alter mixtures and many more actions all in fractions of a second sometimes means that potentially devastating incidents can not only be contained, but in many cases can actually be prevented entirely. Countless lives have been saved, many times without them even knowing it, because of computer technology. Not only this, but the same automated safety features have prevented numerous environmental disasters thanks to the prevention of incidents such as explosions and discharge of pollution into the air or water. For more information on environmental health and safety please click here.




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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