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Using Sanding Equipment Safely

Sanding equipment is another tool which has risks to health associated with it. One of the primary sources of danger is the dust that will be produced from the act of sanding whatever material is being worked. Sanding equipment of various sizes and types are used on a range of different materials such as wood and stone, and the act of grinding down the surface will create dust which can cause damage to a person's respiratory system (throat, lungs etc.) either in the short-term or causing long-term damage.

Most types of dust health hazards come under COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations unless they have their own particular regulations, for example asbestos and its associated dust. Even dust which is not comprised of hazardous particles can cause damage in sufficient quantities, and can aggravate existing medical conditions that a person may have such as asthma.

The risk to health from dust produced by the sanding can be reduced by certain control measures including using ventilation equipment to extract the dust and take it away before it has a chance to spread into the air and be inhaled by the operator or those working nearby. Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be provided if required to protect the wearer from dust.

However, dust is not the only risk presented through the use of sanding equipment. Sanding machinery is likely to be noisy, and long-term or even short-term exposure to this noise can cause permanent hearing damage to a worker. Again, suitable protective equipment such as ear defenders are a way of combating this risk.

Vibration is also an issue as the sanding process is likely to create vibrations to some extent no matter what size or type of sanding machine is being used for the job. A combination of gloves, frequent rest breaks and regular replacement of the sanding belt to prevent the need for avoidable exertion can all help to lower the danger to health from vibration whilst sanding.

Fire is another potential danger. Not only can faulty equipment or damaged electricity cables cause a fire just like it can in other power tools, but the friction created by sanding may in some circumstances cause any flammable material to ignite.

Finally, if the surface is requiring sanding, then it is probable that the surface is rough or sharp. These sharp surfaces present a sharps risk to those handling the object, and it may therefore be prudent to provide these workers with sharps training to prevent injury to themselves from cuts and abrasions.

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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