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Sharps Health and Safety Risks on a Construction Site

One aspect of health and safety on a construction site which needs to be considered is that of sharp objects. A construction site can contain sharp items in a multitude of locations, and workers should receive suitable sharps training health and safety courses in order to become more aware of the dangers that sharp objects can present, and how to avoid injury from them.

As stated above, sharps risks can come from a variety of sources. One is the tools themselves, with machinery such as cutting tools needing a sharp blade in order to cut through hard material like bricks or metal, or hand-held implements like trimming knives. These items will easily cut through soft flesh, so care must be taken when using or moving around with these items. Cutting equipment should only be operated by a person who has received sufficient training in its correct operation, with appropriate health and safety measures put in place to avoid injury to others working nearby.

Site workers may also suffer cuts or lacerations from items such as protruding nails, staples in packaging material or from newly-cut material which has an edge awaiting grinding or sanding down. Workers need to be vigilant at all times against small sharp items which could be anywhere and will be difficult to spot before it is too late.

Those on site also need to consider the risk of discarded needles from trespassers who may either have been on site before building work commenced, or may have got into the site overnight. Just because the area was clear yesterday does not necessarily mean it will be today, so workers need to take care at all times.

When handling material which has the potential to contain something that can be sharp, issuing protective equipment such as gloves can help prevent injury. The circumstances will vary depending upon the situation, but it may be necessary to perform a sharps risk assessment before allowing a worker(s) to proceed with the task.

Related Training Courses:
  • Manual Handling Training
  • Risk Assessment

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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