The NEBOSH General Certificate and Machinery Hazards
In the health and safety article NEBOSH General Certificate Work Equipment we saw how the syllabus of the NEBOSH General Certificate course will cover the general risks from some common small items of machinery but will not provide specific details of instruction for each piece of equipment or attempt to cover the hazards created by every single piece of machinery that may be used by everybody in every trade and industry!
The NEBOSH General Certificate Looks at Many Risks Associated with Machinery
Instead the syllabus of NEBOSH General Certificate courses will discuss common risks and dangers to the health of individuals who are either operating or stood/moving in the nearby vicinity. Some of the most likely methods in which a person may come to harm from work equipment (or even using such tools and equipment in their personal time) will take the form of:
- Entanglement with moving parts and mechanisms, such as hair or clothing getting caught. Not only can it be painful if it is hair, but clothing such as ties which get caught can result in choking to death. Entanglement can also result in drawing-in which is described in the bullet point underneath.
- Drawing-in usually refers to clothing or body parts such as fingers being drawn-in to machinery parts which are rotating and as such pull a person closer to and unfortunately into the mechanisms of the machinery. These are likely to be sharp and/or strong enough to easily crush limbs which makes this risk extremely serious and one where suitable health and safety training needs to be provided in order to reduce the likelihood of such an incident occurring.
- Impact injuries where a person's body is struck by a moving object such as ejected waste matter from the machining process (e.g. wood or plastic which has been punched out to create a hole in a piece of material), or from machinery itself which moves such as robotic equipment. Although sometimes fitted with sensors and other safety controls to detect the presence of objects in their path, it is often necessary for the person themselves to stay out of the way of moving robots and other pieces of machinery!
- Cuts and lacerations are amongst the most prevalent of dangers to a person's health and wellbeing when using machinery. Even tools and equipment which are not specifically intended to be used to cut material will often have sharp protrusions which can cause both minor and serious injuries to a person.
- Hazardous substances, particularly dust and fumes, will be produced as a by-product of the use of machines and tools as they cut, sand, demolish etc. Suitable precautions need to be taken according to the substances created and/or encountered, which may be particularly hazardous to health such as asbestos dust. Comprehensive training in working safely with regards to likely dangers is therefore essential.
- Vibration Injuries. Many machines, especially high-powered ones and those designed specifically to perform an action such as drilling or compacting material, will cause vibrations from the tool to the hand and body of the operator. This can cause health issues for a person, particularly over the long-term.
- Noise. Many machines are noisy which can easily cause permanent damage to the hearing abilities of the operator and everyone else nearby. Depending upon the noise levels involved, this hearing damage can occur even over a short period of time, meaning that suitable precautions must be taken at all times.