HSfB Blog

Back in the day when I something of a technical type I had occassion to visit lots of offices, warehouses, cash and carries and factories to fix various pieces of broken equipment.

Now I had ten calls to do a day, and I often covered 300 miles in the process, so I didn't have time to hang around at the customer's premesis, and I was well aquainted with the work I was to do and the environment I would have to do it in, since I did this sort of work all the time, so a broken till meant out on the retail floor, a dodgy photocopier was generally in an office, I'm sure you get the idea.

So one day I turn up with a replacement printer for a till in one of the larger cash and carries in Hillington near Glasgow. I get the printer onto my trolley (keeping manual handling to a minimum... it was one of those huge laser printers) and nip into customer service to find out which till needs fixing.

"Oh it's this one, but you need to go and sign in at the desk at the employee's entrance"


I often hear people trying to justify why they haven't assessed a hazard properly by using that old chestnut...'it's never happened before'.

My usual response is 'that may be true, but it doesn't make it right'.   However, since finding this quote, I like to bring this one up...


“When anyone asks how I can best describe my experience in nearly 40 years, I merely say, uneventful. Of course there have been winter gales, and storms and fog the like, but in all my experience, I have never been in any accident of any sort worth speaking about. …… I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked, nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort. You see, I am not very good material for a story”

Captain Smith, Commander of Titanic



I came across this excellent infographic showing various ladder injury statistics and thought I'd share here. Thanks to Ladders Direct.

Click the image or the link at the foot of the blog post to see and download the full image.

Here's what they had to say...

Ladders Direct would like to thank the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as without their great research and statistics we would never have been able to create this handy info graphic. If you have found our info graphic of interest please feel free to use it on your own site or share with others. And remember when using ladders, stay safe!

When most of us hear of workplace accidents and injuries, we look on from the sidelines with a general 'it will never happen to me' attitude, turning up to work comfortable in the knowledge that our health and safety is being well cared for by the organisation in which we work.

Aside from the fact that many companies have poor safety records and your health and safety may well not be in a 'safe pair of hands', it is also not just the responsibility of your employer or those in charge of health and safety to look after you.

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) imposes general duties on employers, the self-employed, controllers of premises, and manufacturers to ensure health, safety and welfare but the final group that makes up this list and the one which many of us do not realise exists is – employees.

From the many convictions and cases that are brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it seems reasonably understood, if not carried through, that the HSWA imposes general duties on all employers and the self-employed to ensure the health and safety of those who may be affected by their business activities. Employers may also be liable for negligent acts committed by fellow employees acting in the course of their employment.

Related Article - A Potted Guide to Taking NEBOSH exams

OK we've talked about all the theory – now let's put it all together and try to give a perfect answer to a mock exam question:

"Volunteers are involved in collecting bags of books, clothes and other donated goods from householders. The bags are loaded into vans for delivery to a chain of charity shops. Explain how the charity should assess the risks to the charity workers, identifying the particular issues that would need to be considered at each stage of the assessment" (NEBOSH Diploma Part One, June 2003)

First things first – look at the action verbs. You are being asked to explain how the problem should be assessed and identify the particular issues at key stages.

Re-read the question now, and underline your key signposts:


It's a well-known fact in health & safety that NEBOSH exams are tough, but that's not to say they are impossible. The guidance that follows is intended to give you some final key pointers for the big day, and coupled with a comprehensive study and revision programme, should get you through just fine.


Action Verbs

Take note of the "action verb" at the start of each question. As a general rule, if a question asks you to "Identify", "state" or "list" then a simple list will do. If however, the question asks for "outline", "describe" or "explain", then your answer should be in sentences, preferably with an example to illustrate.


Read the Question

The clue is in the question! However simple it may seem, make sure you read the question properly, maybe even underlining key points (you can write on your question papers). It is imperative that you answer the question that has been set, not the one you wish had been set.