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How to Prevent Accidents When Performing Maintenance on Equipment

A number of safety precautions can be introduced and followed in order to minimise the risks of an accident occurring during maintenance procedures. These include:

Planning - Like most things in life, a failure to plan can lead to unforeseen problems later on, and health and safety is a prime example of this. By thoroughly planning and performing risk assessments before any work takes place, preventative action can be taken before somebody gets hurt.

Permit to work systems - For particularly high-risk work, making use of a permit to work system will help to minimise the risks that are present on work which can easily kill or severely injure a person. All those involved with the permit and anyone likely to be affected by it needs to have received permit to work training so that they fully-understand how the system operates and who is responsible for what.

Isolate and lock off equipment and electricity supply - Doing this will prevent the electricity supply or machinery being restarted before workers are clear of it. Individual padlocks for each worker to which only they have the key for will greatly improve the effectiveness of this locking off for preventing accidental switching back on.

Ensure only competent personnel perform the maintenance - Those workers who have not had suitable safety training or are not qualified to carry out repairs or maintenance on the piece of equipment in question can be a danger both to themselves or others, for example if the equipment malfunctions when it resumes use.

Prevent access to the area to those who should not be there - Whilst workers may be following permits or method statements, anybody who accidentally or deliberately accesses the area may be in danger. Introducing measures such as site perimeter fencing and clear warning signs can help keep people out.

Provide any necessary protective equipment and safety devices - Even after eliminating as many risks as possible, many maintenance jobs will require workers to wear suitable personal protective equipment (PPE). This can include items such as gloves, breathing apparatus, radiation suits etc. It is the responsibility of managers and employers to ensure that this equipment is provided and is in good condition.

Finally... common sense - Without this, even the most stringent safety precautions can be rendered useless and ineffective.

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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