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Risk Severity and Priorities in Health and Safety


Those who have received health and safety training will know not only about identifying the multitude and wide variety of risks, hazards and dangers to health that are present in places of work, but they will also have an understanding of the ways in which different hazards have different levels of severity and urgency in terms of rectifying and remedying the situation to prevent an accident from taking place.

It is obviously necessary to attach priority to those which pose the most significant risks to a person's health or the environment, as these risks are likely to have the potential to cause serious injuries, illness or even death to workers or those in the nearby vicinity. However, management are legally required (in the majority of countries anyway!) to do as much as is reasonably practical to eliminate risks and provide a safe place of work for their employees, as well as preventing accidents which could jeopardise the safety of members of the public which can be affected by the actions and operations of the business.

This may mean that the company needs to temporarily suspend and shut down either a part or all of its operations whilst various risks are dealt with before workers are allowed to come back and resume their duties.

Although there will be some hazards that can be remedied without the need to suspend activities, dangers which are being tackled but still exist are still a risk to a person's health and wellbeing. As far as danger is concerned, whether the hazard is currently being worked on or not, if it still could cause harm it is still a risk for workers!

Should Risks be Given Priority in Order of Severity?

Whilst the most potentially-harmful risks and hazards should be given priority, it may be the case that a fairly low risk can be made safe quickly and easily. If this is the case, the company should not wait until they have finished with the severe risks as if they were taking them all in a rigid order, but should attempt to eliminate and make safe as many potential hazards as possible in as short a time frame as possible.

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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