• Close up of a Fire Extinguisher
    NEBOSH & Assessments

    Fire Safety Precautions

    Fire-walk with me ‘We’re surrounded by fire’!  This was the exclamation by a student on a recent course I tutored.  We had just returned from an impromptu ‘walk-about’ of the building where I was delivering elements of the NEBOSH National Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management. It all started when we took a break for coffee and cakes and I asked the group of students to make a note of the ‘factors relating to means of escape and methods and systems to give early warning in case of fire’, the idea being that as they walked through the building to where the coffee was , they should observe and…

  • Builders working on site
    NEBOSH & Assessments

    Risk Assessment – The Safe Person or Safe Place Dilemma

    Controls, Costs and Counting Beans In a previous contribution on risk assessment I discussed the concept of ‘systematic’ and how it is a good idea to take everything into account, even though it may not be of great risk. The good thing about doing it that way, of course, is that it proves you have at least considered the hazard and its risk, even though it has turned out (at time of assessment) to be insignificant. How many of you think a risk assessment is an exercise to kill trees, chew them up and mix with water, flatten them into paper, write on them and file them away to gather…

  • Risk assessment folder
    NEBOSH & Assessments

    System Addict

    What is risk and why do we assess it – subjects that sit at the very heart of the NEBOSH General Certificate, and the health and safety sphere in general. Risk is the likelihood (the ‘chance’, the ‘probability’) that harm will occur – TOGETHER with the consequences (the ‘severity’ or ‘outcome’) of it if it does. But you knew that, right? Risk assessment is done so we don’t break the law, isn’t it? No! Risk assessment is done to keep directors and business-owners out of jail! Well, I guess they are one and the same thing, and these are the main objectives of some. . .

  • Students standing against a wall, in black and white
    NEBOSH & Assessments

    It is Not What You’re Asked, it’s The Way That You’re Asked it

    It is Not What You’re Asked, it’s The Way That You’re Asked it When did you last sit an exam? For many of us it was years ago – perhaps at school, or university. How did you get on? What did you think of the questions? Too technical? Too long? Wanted too much detail? You thought you knew the subject pretty well, but were stumped by some of the things being asked? It’s pretty scary even remembering it, isn’t it? And you may experience it all over again when you face your NEBOSH General Certificate exams. It doesn’t really matter where we are exposed (there’s a good health and safety…

  • Environmental ground
    Environmental

    Buying a ‘Stairway to Heaven’ – Or Another ‘Tragedy’?

    Buying a ‘Stairway to Heaven’ – or another ‘Tragedy’? I’ve never been a fan of the idea of environmental “offsetting”. The concept is most frequently applied to greenhouse gas emissions – with which NEBOSH Environmental Certificate students who have studied Element 1 will be familiar – where an organisation (or individual) seeks to compensate for the carbon emissions they cause (usually through using energy) by paying for improvements elsewhere. Carbon offsetting has become institutionalised through regulated schemes such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, and there is also a host of commercial ‘carbon offsets’ that are available for purchase from specialist companies. Carbon offsets are usually sold as tonnes of…

  • Lady doing a yoga pose next to a river, in the forest
    NEBOSH & Assessments

    You Should be Dancing – Yeah!

    You Should be Dancing – Yeah! While watching an episode of the BBC programme ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ recently I began to reflect on the health and well-being of the participants in this physically demanding show. I was undertaking this reflection while sipping from a small glass of red wine and considering which chocolate from my ‘winter wonderland’ selection would go best with a Merlot. One of the celebrity contestants on the series had recently fainted during rehearsals as a result of exhaustion, one of the professional dancers had failed to make the series owing to a foot injury sustained while practising, and one of the judges was due to have…

  • Blazing fire in corridor
    NEBOSH & Assessments

    Power to The People

    Power to The People Don’t worry, I don’t want to start a revolution, but reading the syllabus for Element 1.3 of the NEBOSH National Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management (FC1.3) cast my mind back to the late 1970s (giving my age away, now!). When the sitcom Citizen Smith was on our TV screens, and main character ‘Wolfie’ Smith’s catchphrase was ‘Power to the People’. In my experience of delivering Element 1.3 there is often some misunderstanding and confusion in relation to its title – ‘The roles and powers of enforcement agencies and other external agencies in relation to fire safety’. For some students, a sort-of word blindness sets…

  • 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,…

  • Back end of cars in traffic
    Environmental

    Fossil Fools?

    Fossil Fools? You may have noticed – and this is confirmed by the AA’s monthly fuel price report – that petrol and diesel prices are down significantly this month (November 2013). Good news? Well, nestling within every silver-lining there’s often a cloud. The recent drop in fuel prices seems to go against the long-term trend and raises questions about where the underlying global price of fossil fuels is going. Element 7 of the NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management raises questions about the rising costs of fossil fuels and identifies that demand is starting to outstrip supply. The script that we have been following in recent years goes something like this:…