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The Benefits of NEBOSH Qualifications

 It seems that the modern UK workplace is becoming increasingly aware of the need for more health & safety courses to be designed and introduced into our daily procedures. The Institute of Occupational Safety and Health are one of the highest directives in the UK and they will only recognise qualifications and training that have been carried out to the highest standards possible. NEBOSH is a very important part of the UK’s health and safety structure and as such it is a globally recognised body. Here we will take a closer look at NEBOSH and explain exactly why it should be a part of all UK workplace’s health and safety directives.

What are NEBOSH qualifications?

NEBOSH is an acronym for the National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety. It is currently the most widely held qualification of its kind here in the UK and more than 160,000 people have been awarded this certificate since it began back in 1989. It is fully accredited by IOSH and more workplaces are now realising why it is so vital that its employees should be striving to attain a NEBOSH qualification sooner rather than later.

Different levels of NEBOSH

As with most formal health and safety qualifications there are different levels and NEBOSH does not deviate from that path:

·       NEBOSH Awards- This is deemed to be the entry-level NEBOSH qualification and it will offer a basic but sound foundation from where the learner will understand health and safety and environmental issues in the workplace. It will provide a perfect induction into the NEBOSH arena and will prepare the learner for the next stage of certification.

·       NEBOSH Certificate – The second rung of the NEBOSH qualification ladder offers the learner a decent foundation in health and safety qualifications and understanding.  This course will suit all level of workplace employees including managers and supervisors. If you are serious about entering a career focusing in health and safety, this would be a very sound choice from which to get that ball well and truly rolling. As such, the NEBOSH Certificate is accepted by the IOSH-The Institute of Occupational Safety and Health – and it meets their requirements for a Technical Membership of that renowned health and safety organisation.  

·       NEBOSH Diploma – These awards are recognised on a global level and are the qualification to have amongst professional health and safety advisors and environmental professionals. Before an individual takes on a NEBOSH Diploma they should already have experience of the health and safety sector and they may also require some formal qualifications that are recognised by both NEBOSH and IOSH. Successful Diplomates are invited to the NEBOSH graduation ceremony at Warwick University to receive their awards.

Where can I study for NEBOSH?

You can take a course in NEBOSH training at any accredited course provider in the UK and there should be one near your workplace. The exams can also be taken at similar establishments and you should find one in your vicinity by checking the official NEBOSH website for details - https://www.nebosh.org.uk/default.asp

How will NEBOSH help me and my colleagues?

By equipping yourself with the recognised NEBOSH training and certification you will be able to work far more effectively within the world of health and safety on a daily basis. Provided that you and your colleagues, including supervisors and managers, have all reached the desired level of NEBOSH training, your working environment will not only be a far safer place to be, but you will also have uniform knowledge of the importance of a regulated health and safety system through the workplace. 

The Dangers of Working at Height

It is perhaps an obvious statement that working above ground level can be dangerous. It is clear that for every foot above the ground a person is working, the dangers will increase. When considering the dangers of working at height, most people consider simple falls caused by inattention or perhaps inadequate barriers or improperly erected equipment, but in fact the dangers of working at a height are far more than these and must be considered to include the dangers to which people on the ground are also put.

Things falling from above

Perhaps the best know anecdote about things dropping from above is the proverbial penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building. There are claims that people have been killed this way but in fact it would never happen, because the penny is too light and there would be too much wind resistance. It wouldn’t reach a speed of much more than 100 mph, which would just sting a little. However, something weighing around 50g (and, just for reference, a smallish adjustable spanner weighs over 300g), ignoring air resistance, would reach a velocity of about 250 miles per hour. With the energy that would give this relatively small item - around 100 foot-pounds – it would certainly be fatal if it hit you on the head. If you're wearing a hard hat, however, you'll survive. Even a hard hat would be put through its paces if a spanner hit you. Perhaps those simple figures are enough to clarify that it is imperative to attach all tools when working at height and to put signage down below to make sure no one is beneath.

Do you have to go up there?

Some jobs that seem at first sight to need extended work at height may be able to be done at ground level. These would include things like repairing of roof panels and stonework on cornices and similar places. Although obviously it would be necessary to go up in the first place to bring the broken items down and then again when they are fixed to replace them, the time spent up high would be very much reduced and with it much of the risk. This especially applies to when broken items are being removed bit by bit from anywhere – see the previous paragraph on things falling from above! Roofs in particular lend themselves to being fixed on the ground and where possible this should be done. Working on roofs is particularly dangerous. If you do need to go up there then ensure that you have adequate safe working at height training before you do.

Up on the roof

There are a number of reasons why roof work is so very dangerous – not only are they, by definition, high, but they can be in very bad repair without anyone really being aware how bad the situation is as they can become fragile over time, unable to safely support the weight of a person and any load they are carrying. Asbestos (which carries its own unique risks), cement, fibreglass and plastic generally become more fragile with age, and steel sheets may rust. Without knowing the detailed structure of the building, which is more than likely if it is old, it might not be clear where supporting structures are and a worker can easily fall through a weak spot. Roof edges are particularly prone to becoming weak and falls from the edge of a roof are very common. Icy or wet conditions make roof work particularly hazardous and so the weather should always be part of the equation when deciding whether to work on any roof project.

Taking a moment can save lives

A working day can be very busy, with everyone trying to get two days’ work done in one. Whilst sometimes it is possible to cut a few corners without compromising safety, this is absolutely not the case when it comes to working at height. Every stage of health and safety guidelines, method statements and risk assessments should be followed to the letter – cutting corners in safety processes could easily mean that you take the ultimate shortcut out, straight to the ground. Training courses are essential to keep staff safe because if they are reminded on a regular basis that simple H&S procedures could save their lives and those of others, they will soon do them as second nature and everyone will be much safer, whether up high or below them on the ground.

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