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Importance of Accurate Inventories for Health and Safety


An accident or incident in the workplace can be dangerous enough at the outset, such as creating an explosion which causes injury or death to those unlucky enough to be nearby. However, not only is this a risk which needs to be considered and countered against through health and safety training and the introduction of dependable safety features, but there are also a high number of dangers which are caused by substances coming into contact with each other in the aftermath of the incident, when they would otherwise be kept completely separate.

A thorough risk assessment carried out before the incident will not only have identified the possibilities for substances to interact in the event of different kinds of incidents, but should also have started the process of creating suitable control measures designed to mitigate and prevent the substances coming into contact with each other in the event of an emergency, including:

  • The creation of bunds to contain liquids
  • Automatic shut-off valves to stop the flow of gases or liquids
  • Blast-proof and/or fire-proof walls and doors of hazardous substance storage areas to prevent escape and contamination

The Importance of Accurate Inventories

The potential size and scale of an incident like an explosion will depend greatly upon the quantity of substances which happen to be stored on the premises. A large amount of hazardous gases or liquids can create a much more dangerous incident in terms of the area covered and therefore the number of people affected. For this reason, companies should try and minimise the amount of hazardous material they have on the premises as far as possible without disrupting operations.

As an incident unfolds and the emergency services are called in, it will be extremely important for them to know exactly what they are dealing with in terms of the specific substances hazardous to health and also in what quantities as this will affect critical decisions such as whether the site is safe enough to enter at all, and the required safety cordon which is needed around the location.

In order to provide this information correctly, an accurate inventory needs to be maintained at all times. Logging the inflows and outflows of substances will enable the company to know exactly how much of each hazardous substance is currently being stored on the premises. This information can then quickly and easily be given to the fire brigade or other incident response team so that informed decisions can be made. This will assist in maintaining the health and safety of everybody nearby, including the emergency service personnel themselves, to prevent an incident getting potentially far worse in terms of endangering health and damaging the surrounding environment.

Related Link: COSHH Training

Of course the number one priority and intention is to prevent accidents and incidents occurring in the first place. The provision of health and safety training to employees is a significant component of this goal. Where hazardous substances are involved, providing bespoke COSHH training to employees teaches and provides them with safety information regarding the substances which they may be exposed to in their place of work. By understanding exactly what they are dealing with and how they can stay safe and minimise the potential for accidents as far as is reasonably practical, the chances of them or somebody else being killed, injured or made ill can be materially lowered.

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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