• Health & Safety

    New Year’s Resolution; Less Harry Potter, More Gordon Gekko

    It has become something of a tradition in our household to do a Harry Potter marathon (of sorts) over Christmas. i.e watch all eight films over eight consecutive evenings over the festive period. My daughters grew up with Harry. My youngest’s impression of Moaning Myrtle is exceptional (apparently my own “Expecto Patronum!” is quite good too). Spoiler alert Harry kills Voldemort at the end. Good conquers evil. Morality wins the day. The books and the films are so satisfying because the right and proper outcome is achieved. If only it was as simple in the world of occupational health and safety. Most of you will be familiar with the moral…

  • HSE sign on green background
    Health & Safety

    A Case of Management-ITIS

    A Case of Management-ITIS Years ago, there was a TV advert in the UK for a telephone company, in which a morose young lad was telling his gran over the phone that he hadn’t passed any of his exams – “except sociology”. On hearing this, granny exclaims: “You got an ‘ology?!” and almost bursts with pride. I am reminded of this every time I introduce to the students I teach the health and safety ‘term’ ITIS. It stands for (sorry for shuffling the original order): Information, Training, Instruction and Supervision. So, not “an ITIS” – just ITIS. ITIS pops up in many locations in our wander through health and safety…

  • Stack of books, with blurred background
    NEBOSH & Assessments

    The Importance Of Planning

    The Importance Of Planning “Planning and implementing” are the subjects of Element 4 of the NEBOSH General Certificate and they form steps one (Plan) and two (Do) of the PDCA cycle (steps three and four being Check and Act). But I often get asked exactly what plan and do actually mean. Managing health and safety is generally described as a ‘systematic’ operation, and this is why eyes often begin to glaze over; surely we’ve already done the planning bit by putting together a policy statement and all the supporting bumph. You reckon? What we should have in place is a plan that lets us identify the health and safety requirements,…

  • Diploma hat sitting on a table
    NEBOSH & Assessments

    Pig Weighing

    Pig Weighing So the farmer wants to sell his pig at market for the best price. He wants the pig to be as heavy as possible. So he weighs the pig to see how heavy it is. Next day he weighs the pig again. He writes each weight down in a notebook. He creates a database on his iPad (very 21st century farmer this one). He plots a graph of weight against time and toys with line graphs and bar charts to find the jazziest way to present the data. He weighs the pig each and every day to track its progress. Only thing is, if you want a pig…

  • Classroom of students learning
    NEBOSH & Assessments

    Is There Such a Thing as ‘NEBOSH Speak’?

    Is There Such a Thing as ‘NEBOSH Speak’? NEBOSH have a special language – there I’ve said it; that language is English! Of course the exams are translated into other languages as well. But in all cases, the use of language has to be clear and precise so everyone can understand what the question is asking. Try writing a question that is clear and unambiguous and you will see just how difficult the task really is! So, how do you understand exactly what the question is asking and how do you know how much to write? The obvious answer is to be well-prepared and to know all the material on the…

  • Person writing, in black and white
    NEBOSH & Assessments

    NEBOSH Exams – How They Work

    Taking NEBOSH exams, whether at Certificate or Diploma level, can be a daunting task. It is true that NEBOSH have clear, often high, standards but the anxiety felt by many candidates is often increased by a wealth of misinformation (e.g. the ridiculous claim that NEBOSH operate a quota system that only allows a fixed percentage of entrants to pass). This blog (the first in a series), aims to help set the record straight and provide a useful insight into the world of the NEBOSH examiner. First of all, what don’t the NEBOSH examiners expect from you? Well, they don’t expect you to memorise the entirety of your course notes and simply regurgitate them…

  • Man writing in a book in classroom
    Health & Safety

    Lofstedt – Reviewing Health and Safety Regulation in The UK

    Last year the government asked Ragnar Lofsted to review Health and Safety regulation in the UK. This is always tricky. It can be the kiss of death to any career aspirations if you say the wrong thing. But, like any good researcher he figured he would gather some data first. After all, who could argue with evidence? In this and subsequent blogs, I thought I’d review some of his points and findings. It’s over a 100 pages long and there are no pictures. Though there are a few bar charts and tables. Ragner makes a good point right at the beginning. It’s a point that rings true and most have…

  • Students standing against a wall, in black and white
    Health & Safety

    Can The Young Teach Us Anything About Health and Safety?

    I detect a certain amount of righteous indignation and resentment when young kids come out of college with a degree in health, safety, environment and quality. The argument goes something like: “They have no experience to speak of. They have no significant scaring (mental or otherwise) and no regard for the traditions built up over a lifetime devoted to cynicism and ridicule.” But that’s not my view. It’s fashionable in some circles to demonise the young (see here for example). Oscar Wilde famously said “I am not young enough to know everything”. Sure, the young can be arrogant, inexperienced (how can they be any other?) and impetuous but they are…