Health and safety practices in engineering

Health and safety practices in engineering

Health and Safety Legislation

  • Understand that health and safety are governed by laws like the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 1974 which protects employees in the workplace.
  • Familiarise yourself with control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH) regulations; these manage exposure to harmful substances.
  • Seek to comprehend the key provisions of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Work Regulations 1992 which covers clothing and equipment designed to protect against health and safety risks.

Risk Assessment

  • Recognise the importance of conducting regular risk assessments to identify potential hazards.
  • Understand the 5-step process of risk assessment: identifying hazards, considering who could be harmed, evaluating risks and deciding precautions, implementing changes, and recording and reviewing results.
  • Awaken to the difference between hazards and risks; a hazard is something which has the potential to cause harm, whereas risk denotes the likelihood of that harm happening.

Safe Use of Machinery

  • Be aware of the potential dangers when operating machinery; safety guards and emergency stop buttons can provide essential protection.
  • Remember that regular maintenance and inspections are crucial to prevent inevitable wear and tear from becoming more severe hazards.
  • Recognise the role of training in maintaining safety; improper use of machinery can lead to serious accidents.

Handling Materials and Substances

  • Understand the importance of following safe handling procedures when dealing with materials, especially those that are hazardous or heavy.
  • Be aware of manual handling techniques to avoid personal injury; this includes correct lifting and carrying procedures.
  • Learn the requirement for documentation, like Safety Data Sheets (SDS), when using hazardous substances; this provides key information such as hazard classification, first-aid measures and personal precautions.

Personal Health and Well-being

  • Recognise the impact of physical and mental well-being on safety in the workplace; stress or fatigue can lead to accidents.
  • Understand the importance of regular breaks to reduce fatigue, particularly during long or repetitive tasks.
  • Note the role of ergonomics in reducing work-related musculoskeletal disorders; workspace should be arranged to suit the worker.

Fire Safety

  • Understand fire classifications and the appropriate extinguishing methods for each class of fire.
  • Recognise the importance of clear fire escape routes and regularly rehearsed evacuation procedures.
  • Be aware of flammable and combustible materials in the workplace; ensure they are stored properly.

Protective Clothing and Equipment

  • Understand how Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) helps reduce exposure to hazards.
  • Recall the obligation to wear the appropriate PPE for each task, examples include safety glasses, hard hats, gloves, and high visibility clothing.
  • Familiarise with the necessary maintenance and storage of PPE to ensure they remain effective and safe to use.