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  9. Safe Movement of People on NEBOSH General Certificate Courses

Safe Movement of People on NEBOSH General Certificate Courses

A fork lift truck driver speaking with site managers

Delegates enrolled and attending NEBOSH General Certificate courses - and indeed on NEBOSH Construction Certificate and SMSTS courses as well - will spend a lot of time dealing with issues regarding the safe movement of people in and around the workplace.

The type of hazards that are present in a workplace will vary significantly depending upon the nature of the activities that go on there and the particular industry. For example there will be many different risks on a construction site than there will be in an office. Ensuring the safe movement of people will therefore have significantly different requirements from one workplace to another, and what may be sufficient for one may not be suitable for another.

To help minimise these risks to workers and members of the public, the management of the business will not only need to perform suitable risk assessments and provide health and safety training to its workers, but they will need to incorporate sufficient monitoring processes to ensure that current health and safety controls are fit for purpose.

Existing safety measures will also need continually refining in order to adapt to changing workplaces and procedures. For instance, if new machinery and equipment is introduced onto the site which has never been present before, then the safety communication given to staff may need to be amended accordingly. Even if it is a piece of machinery similar to ones already in use, such as a different specification vehicle, the previous information may be out of date as factors may have changed, such as the top speed (meaning an employee does not have as much time to get out of the way as they did before!).

The health and safety training courses mentioned above such as the NEBOSH General Certificate will deal with various issues regarding the safe movement of people and the types of dangers and risks to their health that would most typically be encountered. These include:

  • Collisions with moving vehicles such as fork-lift trucks
  • Colliding with stationary objects (e.g. driving a vehicle on site into a post)
  • Falling from height or down a hole
  • Slips, trips and falls

Collisions with Moving Vehicles

All workers and those visiting the place of work in question are at risk from being hit by a moving vehicle. Depending upon the types of activities taking place in the particular industry, this can range from being hit by giant excavator trucks, forklifts or even robots moving items around a warehouse floor on a pre-programmed route. In all of those examples, the results can be serious injury or death.

Site visitors or new starters will be particularly at risk. Whilst medium or long-serving employees will still be at risk if they do not concentrate or an unexpected accident takes place, those who have little or no experience of how the site operates will be most in danger, as they will not know the precise risks or where to walk/stand in order to keep out of harm’s way.

This group of people will need supervising at all times. Visitors should be provided with an escort to keep them safe (whilst also making sure they don’t steal or do anything they shouldn’t be doing), and new starters will need additional training to bring them up to speed with the dangers present on site as quickly as possible.

Colliding with Stationary Objects

The safe movement of people does not just apply to those wandering around on foot. The ones driving the trucks and machinery are also moving around the site/premises, and so there are things they will need to learn in order to operate these pieces of equipment competently and safely.

Driving and operating equipment that is potentially lethal (either to themselves or others) will burden a person with tremendous responsibility. Not only is it important that those chosen to fill these roles are suitable for the task, but that they have also been provided with thorough training to enable them to operate it safely. If the answer to either of these statements is no, then there is a high risk of a serious accident occurring.

One such accident is colliding with a stationary object. This can either cause injury or death to the driver and any passengers from the impact, but it could also lead to casualties in the nearby vicinity if debris were to hit them, or from collapsing roofs/walls if the collision was with a building support.

Falling From Height

Moving around also runs the risk of falling from a height. This is especially true of workplaces like construction sites, where workers will often move around partially-built structures which have risen quite some way up off the ground.

A fall from height does not just have to refer to a fall from above down to ground level. Holes and excavation work can be deadly if a person was to fall into them.

Whilst construction and demolition sites are amongst the most prominent examples of dangerous workplaces where the risk of falling from a height is present, in reality any workplace can contain such a hazard. From small steps to assist supermarket workers reach items high up on the shelves, to raised/sloping pathways at the side of the building which has a small drop on the other side, the potential for a fall will usually exist somewhere. A fall of just a couple of feet can cause painful injuries like sprains and breaks of ankles, even turning potentially deadly if a person were to hit their head when falling just a short distance.

Slips, Trips and Falls

This particular grouping of hazards can easily be found in any place of work, and is always a constant danger to people as they move around. Even workplaces which are typically considered low risk such as an office are likely to have an abundance of these types of risks present. Whether it be cleaning solution applied to the stairs, electrical cabling stretched across the room, spilt liquid on the floor, or the myriad other likely scenarios, the risks from slips, trips and falls are always far too prevalent.

Whilst health and safety training is necessary in order to make people understand the dangers that even simple actions or inactions can pose to others, in most cases it will be a matter of simple common sense and taking a moment to think about the possible risks that may lie ahead. Likewise, injuries can often be avoided by people taking care and paying attention as they move about.

As is the case for all workplace risks, a combination of comprehensive health and safety training, common sense and vigilance is key to reducing the probability of an accident taking place.

Human Reasons for Accidents

The NEBOSH General Certificate will also look at the human reasons for accidents, such as competence, character, mental health and substance use, and how these potential issues can be monitored and appropriate action taken before an accident takes place.

NEBOSH General Certificate Articles

Please see below for some articles related to the NEBOSH General Certificate qualification which you may be interested in:

Articles related to the NEBOSH General Certificate course

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