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How Can Smoking be a Health and Safety Risk in a Workplace?

Since the introduction of new legislation in many countries such as the UK over the past decade or so which prevents smoking in public buildings including places of work, the issue of health and safety with regards to smoking in the workplace has become largely irrelevant. However, there are still countries where this legislation has not yet been introduced, along with those who deliberately flout the rules.

In countries where smoking is still allowed in a place of work, the main risks to health will come from passive smoking where others are forced to breath in other's smoke, and the potential for dropped or discarded cigarettes to start a fire if it comes into contact with flammable material or liquids such as oil or petrol.

There may still be potential for danger even in countries where legislation prohibits smoking in a place of work. Despite legislation and the risk of punishment there will still be people who break the law and smoke at work.

Some workplaces will be outside, such as a construction site, and whilst they may not be covered by legislation in terms of it being outdoors, there should still be rules imposed by the owners and operators to prevent smoking where it poses a risk of causing a significant accident or incident if it caused a fire and/or an explosion. As far as construction sites are concerned, the likely presence of fuel for machinery and many different forms of flammable material will mean that any construction site manager should strictly enforce a no smoking on site policy, or create a specific smoking area which is well away from any sources of fuel for a fire in order to reduce the likelihood of a fire being started from a used or discarded cigarette or cigar.

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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