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Machinery Guards for the Health and Safety of Workers

Many types of machinery and pieces of equipment are powered by motors. Whether they are powered by fuel or run off electricity, these motors will contain spinning or revolving parts, and can get extremely hot. There may be other parts of the equipment which can present a danger to people if they were to come into contact with them such as cooling fan blades and drive belts.

The exact dangers and potential injuries that could be inflicted will depend upon the type of machinery and the part that the person comes into contact with, but typical examples include:

  • Cuts, lacerations or possible amputation from blades
  • Burns from hot surfaces, steam or hazardous chemicals
  • Impacts from loose parts which fly off
  • Crushing injuries from getting a part of the body trapped between moving parts

To prevent this, guards should be fitted where practicable wherever there is a danger, as well as the presence of warning signs and providing workers with health and safety training courses to make them more aware of the dangers that they face from the various pieces of equipment that they work with or around. The features of these guards should prevent injury whilst still allowing the machinery to operate correctly, for example fan casings with holes which allow air to move freely but are not big enough for a person to get their finger through them.

Some workers may be tempted to remove the guards on occasions, for example to try and make the equipment lighter if it needs to be manually handled or to fix an issue which is preventing the machine from working. This removal of protection can present a serious risk to their health and welfare, but can be combated by locking the guard into place with specialist tools that are not available to anyone other than suitably trained individuals i.e. competent maintenance people.

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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