Socratic Seminar Questions
Many candidates, for part (a), were able to provide adequate definitions of ergonomics, which is generally accepted as being the study of the interaction between workers and their work, and is concerned with the design of the workplace, work equipment and work methods with the needs and limitations of the human operator in mind. Definitions such as `man-machine interface', which still commonly appear in candidates' answers, are considered to be too narrowly focused. Ergonomics is concerned with far more than simply the use of machinery.
Part (b) required candidates to demonstrate an understanding of the possible health effects that may be caused by the poor ergonomic design of VDU workstations. A number of candidates simply listed conditions such as work-related upper limb disorders and eye strain, which was insufficient to gain high marks. The question required candidates to provide an outline of such conditions in order to demonstrate a proper understanding of the effects. An adequate outline would typically include detail of symptoms and the circumstances that would make the effects more likely.
The final part of the question was answered reasonably well by most candidates. Stronger candidates were able to give well structured answers that considered the equipment, the environment, the task and the individual, and their inter-relationships. Some candidates went beyond the scope of the question and paraphrased the requirements of the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, such as the requirement for eyesight tests. In fact, most of the factors relevant to an ergonomic assessment are contained in a schedule to these Regulations.
In addition, some answers included non-ergonomic issues such as fire safety and electricity. Once again, candidates are reminded to read the question thoroughly and to take note of key words and phrases. Section 2 Question 2 An understanding of mechanical hazards associated with moving parts of machinery is a key part of the Certificate syllabus and this question was designed to test candidates' understanding of the categorisation of mechanical hazards given in Part 1 of BS EN 292:1991, `Safety of machinery - basic concepts, general principles for design' (and in the former British Standard, BS 5304:1988, `Safeguarding of machinery').
Examiners were not looking for works of art; they did, however, require something that clearly represented parts of machinery and which demonstrated the particular hazard being referred to. Arrows to show the direction of movement helped enormously in this task. Some sketches were so poor that it was impossible to tell whether a hazard existed at all whereas others were extremely well presented and graphic, occasionally verging on the macabre.
A considerable number of candidates showed confusion between the different types of hazard; in particular, entanglement and drawing-in hazards were often interchanged, and `shearing' seemed unfamiliar to many. Examiners were quite concerned that on the whole candidates did not take advantage of what should have been easily obtainable marks from this question. Question 3 This question was answered well by the majority of candidates. For part (a), nearly all candidates were able to offer an outline of the main factors to be considered in the siting of fire extinguishers.
Typical factors mentioned by candidates included accessibility, visibility, proximity to exits and escape routes, travel distances, and the means of supporting the equipment off the ground and free from obstruction. Only a few candidates, however, identified the need to protect extinguishers from the weather and other sources of damage. A little more difficulty was found with part (b), which required candidates to outline procedures to ensure that fire extinguishers remain operational.
There were, however, some very good answers that clearly differentiated between the purposes of an inspection and those of maintenance. Inspection of fire extinguishers typically takes the form of routine (eg monthly) visual checks to ensure that extinguishers are in place, have not been discharged and bear no obvious damage. Maintenance, on the other hand, is something rather more extensive and usually involves annual tests by a competent person according to the manufacturer's instructions in order to ensure the integrity of the extinguisher, with the removal and replacement of equipment found to be faulty.
Question 4 This question sought to assess candidates' knowledge of basic noise control terms and principles. Unfortunately, many candidates either confused the terms, particularly damping and absorption, or were unable to demonstrate a clear understanding of the terms in relation to noise control. The latter group of candidates sometimes resorted to giving other information on noise that had not been asked for, such as the requirements of the Noise at Work Regulations 1989, and for which marks were not therefore available.
The Examiners were looking for answers which explained that: silencing refers to the suppression of noise generated by the flow of air, gas or steam in ducts and pipes, or when exhausted to the atmosphere, and is achieved by the inclusion of either absorptive material or baffles; absorption is used to reduce the amount of reflected noise by using materials such as foam or mineral wool; damping is used primarily to reduce the amount of noise radiating from large panels and is achieved by increasing the stiffness of the panels; and isolation refers to the physical separation of people from the noise source (eg acoustic booths or havens), or to the reduction in structure-borne noise by vibration isolation (eg flexible pipes or anti-vibration machine mounts). Some good answers included simple sketches and examples to help to demonstrate a complete understanding of this area. Question 5 This was a question where candidates could earn high marks by imagining a lifting operation and then applying appropriate controls from first principles. It was not necessary, therefore, to have a detailed knowledge of cranes or lifting tackle. Some candidates wasted valuable time by going into detail on the suitability of the crane itself, even though the question was carefully worded so as to eliminate this aspect.
A procedure for a lifting operation needs to take into account such issues as: the suitability of the lifting tackle (safe working load, free from defect, etc); the competence of the persons involved (driver, slinger, signaller); ensuring the load is lifted vertically, and that it is secure, balanced and controlled during the lift by the attachment of tag lines where necessary; ensuring proper communication; keeping the area clear of other persons; and performing each part of the operation (lifting, slewing/moving and lowering) at a rate that maintains proper control. Question 6 Most candidates, for part (a), were able to convey the idea that the harmful effects of a toxic substance are normally confined to particular organs within the human body, such as the lungs, liver, skin or kidneys. Hence, a `target organ' is the part of the body that sustains an adverse effect when it is exposed to, or is contaminated by, a particular harmful substance or agent. Part (b) looked at the risk of ingestion and the role played by personal hygiene in reducing the risk.
Again, candidates are reminded of the need to read the question carefully since many appeared to miss the words `personal hygiene' and provided answers that took in the entire COSHH hierarchy. Good answers to part (b) provided detail of personal hygiene practices such as regular hand washing, the restriction of smoking and eating in the workplace, the use of suitable personal protective equipment (eg gloves), and the need for removing and cleaning contaminated clothing. Question 7 The importance of foot protection is illustrated by the fact that around 21,000 foot and ankle injuries were reported to the enforcing authorities in 1996/97. This question aimed to test candidates' awareness and understanding of the need for foot protection in many occupational settings.
It was pleasing to note that a high proportion of candidates were able to provide excellent answers to this question, identifying good examples of the types of hazard and the appropriate footwear requirements. The most common included: falling objects (steel toe-caps), sharp objects (steel in-soles), flammable atmospheres (anti-static footwear), spread of contamination (washable boots), molten metal (heat resistant boots and gaiters), electricity (rubber soles), wet environments (impermeable wellingtons), slippery surfaces (non-slip soles), and cold environments (thermally insulated footwear). Question 8 The Examiners were pleased with the overall response to this question.
Most candidates were able to offer fairly comprehensive lists of inspection items that included: equipment appropriate for the task and environment; equipment tested; equipment, plugs, connectors and cables free from damage; correct wiring and sound connections; fuses and other means of preventing excess current in place and of correct rating; accessible and appropriate means of isolation; and system not overloaded. Question 9 The dangers of excavation work include collapse of sides, falls of persons, materials or vehicles into the excavation, contact with buried services, build-up of fumes, ingress of water and contact with mechanical plant. Candidates should have been able to outline a range of precautions designed to protect against such dangers.
Precautions include: detection of services (eg from plans, use of cable/pipe detectors, etc); support of sides; storage of materials and spoil away from edge; means of preventing vehicles falling into excavation (eg stop blocks); guard-rails and barriers; means of preventing collapse of adjacent structures; safe means of access/egress; testing for, and ventilation of, noxious fumes; means of pumping out water; procedures for working with mechanical plant; and general issues such as inspection, training and supervision. Candidates who were able to provide detail of such precautions, often by means of examples, performed particularly well on this question. Question 10 Most candidates were able to provide two respiratory diseases for part (a), asbestosis and lung cancer being the most popular.
In similar vein, most candidates, for part (b), were able to identify several areas where asbestos could be encountered in a building during renovation. These included pipe lagging, wall and roof panels, ceiling tiles, textured coatings such as fire resistant encapsulation of metal girders, insulation materials, and in gaskets and other seals. Although not affecting the marks, the Examiners were a little surprised by the few answers that referred to mesothelioma in part (a), despite this particular type of cancer being predominantly associated with asbestos exposure. Question 11 Most candidates coped reasonably well with this question, with marks being relatively easy to obtain when a structured approach, which considered the load, the environment and the vehicle itself, was adopted.
Typical issues mentioned were: insecure, excessive or uneven loading; incorrect tilt and/or elevation of forks when travelling; uneven or unconsolidated ground; slopes (and incorrect procedures to deal with them); obstructions (overhead and low level); cornering at excessive speeds; sudden braking; poor condition of tyres; and mechanical failure. THE NATIONAL EXAMINATION BOARD IN OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH NATIONAL GENERAL CERTIFICATE IN OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH PAPER A2: THE MANAGEMENT OF SAFETY AND HEALTH JUNE 1998 Answer ALL questionsTime Allowed: 2 hours Section 1This section contains ONE question. You are advised to spend approximately HALF AN HOUR on it.
The maximum marks for each part of the question are shown in brackets. | 1|(a)|Outline the duties placed on employers under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. |(4)| |(b)|Describe the FOUR factors that should be considered when making an assessment of manual handling operations. |(16)| |||| Section 2This section contains TEN question. You are advised to spend approximately ONE AND A HALF HOURS on it. The maximum marks for each question, or part of a question are shown in brackets. | 2||Outline the factors that should be considered when preparing a procedure to deal with a workplace emergency. |(8)| |||| 3|(a)|Define the term `negligence'|(2)| (b)|Outline the THREE standard conditions that must be met for an employee to prove a case of alleged negligence against an employer. |(6)| |||| 4||Outline the key points that should be covered in a training session for employees on the reporting of accidents/incidents. |(8)| |||| 5||List the main requirements of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992. |(8)| |||| 6||With reference to the Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996:|| |(i)|explain the difference between `consulting' and `informing'|(2)| |(ii)|outline the health and safety matters on which employers must consult their employees. |(6)| |||| ||Outline TWO reactive measures and TWO proactive measures that can be used in monitoring an organisation's health and safety performance. |(8)| |||| 8||Outline the reasons why employees may fail to comply with safety procedures at work. |(8)| |||| |||| 9|(a)|Explain the meaning of the terms: (i) ‘occupational exposure standard’ (OES) (ii) ‘maximum exposure limit’ (MEL). |(2)(2)| |(b)|Outline FOUR actions management could take when an MEL has been exceeded. |(4)| |||| 10|(a)|Explain the meaning of the term ‘safe system of work’. |(2)| |(b)|Describe the enforcement action that could be taken by an enforcing authority when a safe system of work has not been implemented. |(6)| |||| 1||Outline the factors to consider when making an assessment of first-aid provision in a workplace. |(8)| NEBOSH Certificate – June 1998 Paper A2 – The management of safety and health Outline answers and guidance given in the NEBOSH examiner’s Report Section 1 Question 1 With manual handling injuries amongst the most common type of injury sustained by people at work, this question sought to test the depth and breadth of knowledge of candidates with regard both to the legal requirements relating to manual handling and to the practical considerations of conducting manual handling assessments. There were some very good responses to the first part of this question.
Good answers outlined the employers' duties contained in regulation 4 of the Regulations of: avoiding manual handling operations wherever possible; conducting suitable and sufficient assessments of the tasks; taking steps to reduce the risk of injury to the lowest level reasonably practicable; providing information to employees on the weight and weight distribution of the load; and reviewing assessments as necessary. Part (b) required candidates to describe the four factors to be considered in an assessment of manual handling operations. The four factors sought, and which nearly all candidates correctly identified, were the task, the load, the environment and the individual.
The Examiners awarded marks to candidates who were able to consider a wide range of issues under each, and which are listed in Column 2 of Schedule 1 of the Regulations. Therefore, when considering the task, issues such as the distance of the load from the trunk, body movements and postures required (eg twisting, stooping, stretching, excessive carrying, etc), excessive pushing or pulling, and the work rate imposed by the process, are all relevant. Similarly, a range of issues associated with the load would include its weight, bulkiness, stability, sharpness, temperature and the ease with which it can be grasped. When considering the environment, factors such as ambient temperature, floor conditions, space and lighting are important.
Lastly, a suitable and sufficient assessment would consider the individual by looking at physical capabilities, health (eg fitness, pregnancy) and the requirements for special information and training. The overall standard of response to this question was extremely good and Examiners were pleased that candidates were generally able to show a clear understanding of such an important health and safety issue. Section 2 Question 2 This question required candidates to outline the factors that should be considered when preparing a procedure to deal with workplace emergencies such as a fire, explosion, bomb scare, chemical leakage or other dangerous occurrence. Formal procedures should be established to deal with such eventualities and are a specific requirement of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992.
Responses to this question were varied with some candidates able to provide quite reasonable answers and others merely focusing on what to do in an actual emergency (usually a fire) rather than when preparing a procedure to deal with one. Better candidates provided a wide range of considerations, including amongst many other possibilities: the identification and training requirements of persons with specific responsibilities; the layout of the premises in relation to escape routes, etc; the number of persons affected; assessment of special needs (disabled persons, children, etc); warning systems; emergency lighting; the location of shut-off valves, isolation witches, hydrants, etc; the equipment required to deal with the emergency; the location of assembly points; communication with emergency services; and the training and/or information to be provided to employees, visitors, the local community and others who might be affected. Question 3 Disappointingly, many candidates found it difficult to provide, for part (a), a clear definition of negligence, a tort involving a breach of the common law duty to take reasonable care. As has happened in the past, candidates sometimes confused the issue by introducing aspects of criminal liability, in particular by introducing the statutory duties under section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
For part (b), most candidates managed to provide reasonable answers that identified the three standard conditions for an employee to prove a case of alleged negligence: firstly, that a duty of care is owed; secondly, that a breach of the duty occurred in that the employer failed to take reasonable care; and, thirdly, that the breach led directly to the loss, damage or injury. An outline was required to show what each means in practice. Some candidates made use of appropriate examples for this purpose. Question 4 The overall response to this question was rather poor. It was clear that a number of candidates considered the word `reporting' solely in relation to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995. Others appeared to miss the reference to training and simply outlined suitable internal reporting procedures.
Whilst such procedures would form part of a training session, the actual procedures did not really form part of an answer to this question. Good answers to this question referred to the need in a training session to explain the importance of reporting accidents and incidents (for legal, investigative and monitoring reasons), the types of incident that the organisation requires to be reported, the lines of reporting, how to complete internal documents and forms, and responsibilities for completing the accident book and for complying with statutory reporting duties. Question 5 This was a straightforward question where little difficulty was anticipated and, reassuringly, little appeared to have been found.
Many candidates gained maximum marks by including most, if not all, of the requirements relating to: the suitability of work equipment; training; maintenance of equipment; conformity with EU requirements; preventing contact with dangerous parts of machinery; protection against specified hazards; protection against high or low temperatures; stop and emergency stop controls; position of controls; safety of control systems; means of isolation; stability; lighting; safety of maintenance operations; and the provision of markings and warnings. Little more than this was required for the list that was asked for. A few answers went further than necessary by giving detail of the requirements, such as the means of protecting against dangerous parts.
Despite much of the information being sound, no further marks were available and candidates are once again reminded to take note of the `action verb' in each question. Question 6 The HSE guide to the Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations draws a clear distinction between `informing' and `consulting'. Perhaps from a general understanding of the words, nearly all candidates, for part (i), were able to differentiate between the two. Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, employers have a duty to inform employees (ie provide information on hazards, risks and control measures) in order to help to ensure their health and safety.
This general duty is echoed in a number of Regulations made under the Act. The Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996, however, require that employers consult their employees on health and safety matters (ie listen to, and take account of, their views) before a decision is taken. The response to part (ii) was mixed, with some candidates seemingly applying a certain amount of guesswork (albeit sometimes quite intuitively) and others showing an obvious familiarity with the requirements of the Regulations. It is worth noting that the matters on which an employer must consult under these Regulations are identical to those in the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977.
They include: the introduction of any measure at the workplace that may substantially affect employees' health and safety; the arrangements for appointing and/or nominating competent persons; the planning and organisation of health and safety training; the health and safety implications of introducing new technology; and the information that the employer is required to provide under other Regulations, such as that relating to risk assessments, preventive measures and emergency procedures. Hence, employers are obliged not only to provide information but- they must also consult their employees on the appropriateness of the information before it is given. Question 7 Health and safety performance in the workplace can be monitored using a variety of techniques and measures. This question required candidates to distinguish between those that might be described as `reactive' (assessing past failures to control risks) and those that are `proactive' (identifying non-compliance with policy or procedures before actual harm occurs).
Reactive measures include accident and ill health records, civil claims and enforcement actions whereas proactive measures include the results of safety inspections and audits, environmental monitoring records, assessments of health and safety training and the extent to which risk assessments have been completed. The general response to this question was reasonably good although some candidates appeared to confuse the two terms, which resulted in weaker answers. Question 8 This question was answered well by the majority of candidates. Examiners were pleased that candidates were able to outline a wide range of issues for this human factors question, which demonstrated a good understanding of this part of the Certificate syllabus.
There are many reasons why employees may fail to comply with safety procedures at work and candidates achieving good marks recognised some of them, amongst others, as: unrealistic or ill-considered procedures; mental and/or physical capabilities not taken into account; inadequate training; poor organisational safety culture; complacency/lack of motivation; peer group pressure; other priorities and pressures; risks not perceived; slips and lapses; fatigue and stress; and perceived lack of consultation. Question 9 Despite previous Examiners' Reports drawing attention to the general lack of understanding of, and confusion between, the two types of occupational exposure limit (OEL), many candidates were again struggling to provide adequate answers to part (a) of this question.
As a starting point, tutors should ensure that candidates are aware that OELs refer to airborne concentrations of particular substances and thus are primarily concerned with the prevention of ill-health effects by inhalation. Following this, there needs to be an understanding that a harmful substance is assigned an OES when current evidence indicates that there is no harmful effect at this level, and that average airborne concentrations at or below the standard are considered acceptable. An MEL, however, is assigned to a substance when there are difficulties, either technical or due to lack of evidence, in establishing a level that is considered `safe'. For this reason, airborne concentrations of substances with an MEL must be as far as reasonably practicable below this maximum limit in order to minimise any ill-health effects.
Excursions above an MEL must be explained and immediately controlled. Good answers to part (b) relied to an extent on candidates' explanations of an MEL in the first part, and an understanding of the serious implications of exceeding an MEL. Better responses differentiated between the immediate and longer term actions that may be necessary. Emergency procedures such as evacuation, isolation and venting of the affected area, and curtailing the process producing the contaminant, would be required immediately. Following that, an assessment should be made of the reasons for the breakdown in control and improvements (such as more effective ventilation) introduced.
At the same time, anyone exposed to high concentrations should be the subject of special health surveillance. Question 10 The development of safe systems is an essential part of the work of those with health and safety responsibilities. It is pleasing to note that many candidates were able to offer clear, concise definitions that showed a good understanding of the term and its implications. A reasonable explanation of the term is, for example, a considered procedure for carrying out a task safely, taking into account the risks and control measures, the equipment needed, the environment, contingent requirements, and the competence and skills required of personnel.
Part (b) was also well answered although there was a slight tendency for lists, which received minimal credit. Higher marks were awarded to candidates who explained the conditions that would determine the type of action that an inspector might take, and the effects of that action on the organisation. Possible enforcement actions are the issue of an improvement or prohibition notice, and prosecution. Credit was also given for the recognition that an inspector may give verbal or written advice and/or warning before taking more serious action. Question 11 Most candidates seemed to be familiar with the need for first-aid provision in the workplace and the factors that would determine the level of provision required.
An assessment of first-aid provision involves looking at the number and level of training of first-ciders, as well as the type and location of first-aid facilities and equipment, in relation to such factors as the number and distribution of employees, the work patterns in operation (eg shiftwork), the workplace activities and risks, and the proximity of emergency services. Some candidates commendably extended their answers by considering other factors such as the special needs of young, disabled or peripatetic employees. Paper A1 Question 1An inefficient local exhaust ventilation (LEV) system has been identified as the main cause of excessive dust levels in a workplace. (i) Identify FOUR possible indications of a dust problem that may have alerted staff to the inefficiency of the LEV system. (4)- (ii) Outline the factors that may have reduced the effectiveness of the LEV system. (8) iii) Describe control methods other than LEV that might be used to minimise levels of airborne dust. (8) This question was designed to assess candidates' breadth of knowledge of the problem of dust in the workplace. In answering part (i), most candidates were able to identify at least three indications of a dust problem in a workplace, such as deposits of dust on people and surfaces, particles visible in the air and complaints of discomfort and irritation by the employees. Only a few referred to the results of air monitoring or actual ill-health effects. For part (ii), most candidates were able to outline at least a reasonable range of factors.
Better candidates addressed both underlying factors, such as poor design and a lack of maintenance and/or periodic testing, and the more immediate factors, such as the hood being placed too far from the source of the emission, damaged or blocked ducting or filters, unauthorised alteration to the system, incorrect settings, a faulty fan and possible changes to the process leading to increased dust emissions. In part (iii), candidates were given the opportunity to describe methods of minimising levels of airborne dust that may be needed in addition or as an alternative to local exhaust ventilation. These could have included the cessation of the activity creating the dust, changing the process to educe the amount of dust produced, substituting a dust creating material for another in paste or liquid form, segregating or enclosing the process and damping down the dust to enable it to be removed by vacuum. Many candidates demonstrated a good understanding of the principles by describing such methods in a hierarchical order, and almost all indicated the importance of using cleaning methods that do not disturb settled dust (ie vacuuming instead of sweeping). Some became a little carried away with the COSHH hierarchy by referring to the use of respiratory protective equipment, which may reduce personal exposures but has no effect on levels of airborne dust.
Many candidates also suggested the introduction of dilution ventilation, which is an ineffective method of controlling dust and may even have the effect of distributing it more widely across the workplace. Question 2Outline the possible hazards from using a petrol-driven strimmer to maintain roadside verges. (8) This was not a well answered question, with most candidates able to achieve only a few of the marks available for outlining some of the possible hazards arising from using a petrol-driven strimmer. Such hazards include exposure to fumes, the possibility of fire or explosion, contact with the moving parts of the strimmer, being struck by flying stones and fragments, noise and vibration, manual handling, slips, trips and falls, the possibility of being struck by moving traffic and exposure to extreme weather conditions.
Some candidates decided not to answer the question that was asked and either outlined the possible hazards arising from the use of an electric strimmer or discussed how the risks associated with the use of the equipment might be controlled. Question 3Outline the precautions to protect against electrical contact when: (i)excavating near underground cables(4) (ii)working in the vicinity of overhead power lines. (4) Part (i) of this question was answered slightly more successfully than part (ii), with better candidates referring to isolation of the supply, the identification of cable routes from plans and by the use of cable detectors, checking for service box covers, marking of cable routes on site and digging with hand-tools: rather than with a mechanical excavator. Precautions gainst overhead power lines, for part (ii), include isolation, erection of goal-post barriers to define clearance distances, clear marking of danger zones (for example with signs and bunting), ensuring safe access routes under lines (for instance, with `tunnels'), the appropriate use of marshals and banksmen when there is a possibility that cranes, excavators or tipper lorries might approach overhead lines, and the restricted use of items such as metal ladders and scaffold tubes near live lines. Examiners' were genuinely concerned by some of the precautions against high voltage electricity that were being offered by some candidates, in particular the idea that insulated footwear and tools would afford protection and that residual current . devices might be appropriate in either of the two situations. It was significant that only about half of the candidates mentioned the possibility of isolating the power supply in either part of the question.
Some candidates missed the focus of the question and either concentrated on the preparation of a risk assessment or described in detail the operation of a permit-to-work system, neither of which directly affords protection against electrical contact. Question 4 (a) Outline the principles of the following types of machine guard:|| (i) fixed guard|(2)| (ii) interlocked guard. |(2)| (b) Identify TWO advantages and TWO disadvantages of a fixed|| machine guard. |(4)| In answering part (a) of the question, most candidates showed they had at least a basic understanding of the principles of the most common types of guard. The majority correctly identified that a fixed guard is physically attached to the machine and normally requires a special tool to remove it.
Fewer, however, specifically mentioned the fact that it provides a physical barrier that has no moving parts and is not linked to the controls, motion or hazardous condition of the machine. Interlocked guards, on the other hand, work on the principle that a machine cannot start or otherwise become dangerous until the guard is closed, and that when the machine is in a dangerous condition either the guard cannot be opened or opening the guard causes the machine to come to rest. Where problems did arise was in the identification of the advantages and disadvantages of a fixed guard. Candidates should have identified that the simplicity of a fixed guard means it is easy to inspect and maintain and the fact that there are no moving parts leads to increased reliability.
On the other hand, the fact that it is not linked to the machine controls means that no protection is afforded should it be removed and, since it is fixed and requires a special tool for its removal, access, when required, is more difficult. A physical barrier, particularly if it is solid rather than meshed, may also hamper visual inspection of the machine or the work being performed. Question 5Identify FOUR possible routes of entry of toxic substances into the body and, in EACH case, describe a circumstance in which an employee might be at risk of such exposure. (8) Most candidates successfully identified the routes of entry of toxic substances into the body as inhalation, ingestion, through the skin and by injection.
Describing the circumstances in which an employee might be at risk in each case, however, proved a little more difficult. Examiners were looking for examples such as: inhalation due to a build up of fume or vapour, either as part of a process (eg welding) or accidentally (eg spillage); ingestion caused perhaps by poor personal hygiene (eg eating or smoking without first washing the hands); entry through the skin if wounds are not covered or by contact with chemicals (eg solvents) that may be absorbed through the skin; and injection possibly caused by the handling of contaminated sharp objects. Question 6Outline the precautions that should be taken to reduce the risk of injury when work is carried out on a pitched (sloping) roof. (8)
This question sought to test candidates' knowledge of the precautions that should be taken to reduce the risk of injury when working on sloping roofs. The majority provided reasonable answers and referred to many of the relevant precautions such as the provision of safe access to the roof- and roof edge protection, the use of crawling boards or roof ladders, identifying and covering roof lights, arrangements for moving tools and materials to and from the roof, the issue and wearing of personal protective equipment such as helmets, footwear and harnesses, the employment of a trained and competent workforce, and the need to stop the work activity during adverse weather conditions.
Question 7 (a)Outline SIX factors to be considered when selecting suitable eye protection for use at work. (6) (b)Identify ONE advantage and ONE disadvantage of safety goggles compared with safety spectacles. (2) In answering part (a) of the question, most candidates referred to the need to ensure that the type of protective equipment is appropriate for the particular hazard against which protection is required (eg chemical, impact, ultraviolet light, molten metal). In this context, reference was usually made to the need for the equipment to meet quality and safety standards, in particular that it bears a CE mark. Comfort factors were also generally identified, as was compatibility with other equipment, including prescription spectacles.
Other relevant factors to be considered include durability, cost, and maintenance and training requirements. Candidates generally gained full marks for their answers to part (b) since there are several advantages and disadvantages of goggles from which only one of each was required. Advantages include the fact that goggles provide all round protection, particularly against projectiles and chemicals, and tend not to be easily displaced. Disadvantages include the increased tendency of goggles to mist up, the generally higher cost involved and the fact that they may be more uncomfortable than spectacles. Question 8Outline the possible risks to health and safety associated with laying paving slabs in a busy high street. (8)
Examiners were looking to candidates to outline such risks as: trapped fingers, foot injuries and musculoskeletal problems from handling slabs; the possibility of being struck by traffic; injuries from the use of cutting discs (eg contact with the disc and being struck by flying particles); the effects of exposure to noise, vibration, dust and wet cement; and the increased likelihood of tripping. Even though candidates might not have had personal experience of the activity described, it was nevertheless one that could be visualised quite easily in order to identify a good range of possible risks. A few candidates, however, again seemed not to have read the question carefully enough and concentrated on the control measures, for which no marks could be awarded.
Question 9Outline the measures that should be taken to minimise the risk of fire from electrical equipment. (8) In answering this question, Examiners expected candidates to outline measures such as the proper selection of equipment to ensure its suitability for the task, pre-use inspection by the user, establishing correct fuse ratings, ensuring circuits and sockets are not overloaded, disconnecting or isolating the equipment when it is not in use, and ensuring that electric motors do not overheat (eg by checking that vents are uncovered). Additional measures include the need to uncoil cables (particularly extension leads) to prevent the build up of heat and protecting cables from mechanical damage.
Importantly, electrical equipment and systems should be subject to regular inspection, testing and maintenance by competent persons. This should ensure, for instance, that contacts are sound, thereby reducing the likelihood of electrical arcing. While most candidates were able to outline some of the above measures, surprisingly few offered comprehensive answers. Of those who did identify a sufficient number of measures, some provided answers that were far too brief. For an outline, it was necessary to say something about how each measure reduces the risk of fire. Question 10(a)Identify TWO respiratory diseases that may be caused by exposure to asbestos. 2) (b) Explain where asbestos is likely to be encountered in a building during renovation work. (6) In answering part (a) of this question, many candidates identified a variety of respiratory problems that were either non-specific or are not associated with asbestos. Pneumoconiosis and asthma were frequently given as examples. More knowledgeable candidates referred specifically to asbestosis, mesothelioma or lung cancer. Part (b) was reasonably well answered with most candidates identifying, for instance, pipe lagging, roofing materials, loft and wall insulation, sprayed coatings (for example, in fire-resistant encapsulation of metal girders), and the use of asbestos in ceiling tiles, panels and textured finishes.
Fewer mentioned the possibility of gaskets, packing and plugs made of asbestos-containing materials. Question 11List EIGHT non-mechanical hazards associated with machinery. (8) This was intended to be a straightforward question that should have been answered quickly as well as giving the candidates an opportunity to gain valuable marks. The list should have included such hazards as electricity, noise, vibration, radiation, extremes of temperature, fire and explosion, hazardous substances (both by direct contact with, for instance, oils and greases and by exposure to dust and fumes) and those related to insufficient attention to ergonomic issues.
Some candidates included in their list, or even concentrated on exclusively, various mechanical hazards, for which no marks could be given. This suggests that they had either misread the question or did not fully appreciate the distinction between mechanical and non-mechanical machinery hazards. Paper A2, Question 1A newly established company is to refurbish existing office accommodation before recruiting staff. Outline: (i)the welfare facilities that should be considered when planning the refurbishment(8) (ii)the main issues to be addressed in a general health and safety, induction programme(6) for the new staff (iii)the procedures that might be needed in order to ensure the health and safety of visitors to the premises during working hours(6)
This question was generally answered quite well, probably because it was concerned with issues that were relatively straightforward and ones with which many candidates would have already been familiar. In answering part (i), candidates should have referred to the provision of sanitary conveniences, washing facilities, drinking water, eating and rest areas away from the work area, accommodation for clothing not worn at work and rest facilities for expectant and nursing mothers. Some candidates appeared not to notice that the work situation described was office-based and answered the question as though more dangerous activities were involved. Few offices, for instance, would be required to have locker rooms, or shower and changing facilities.
In addition, a few candidates took a wider remit than was required by the question by referring to general welfare issues (eg heating, ventilation and other factors affecting comfort) rather than concentrating on the actual facilities for employee welfare. For part (ii), Examiners were looking for answers that referred to issues such as the company health and safety policy, emergency procedures, specific risks associated with the working environment, procedures for reporting incidents, first-aid arrangements, information on welfare facilities, consultation procedures and the responsibilities of employees. This part of the question seemed to cause some candidates surprising difficulty with a few able to refer to little more than fire and other emergency issues and accident reporting.
Any candidate who had visited a well-managed workplace should have had little difficulty in answering part (iii) by outlining procedures such as the initial reception process involving the registration of personal details and the issue of identification badges, the provision of information on site rules (including emergency procedures) and information on the hazards and risks within the establishment that might affect the visitor. Better candidates suggested that visitors should be supervised, and possibly escorted, at all times by a member of staff. Common to each of the three parts of the question was a requirement to provide an outline of the issues identified.
It was insufficient in part (i), for instance, simply to specify 'sanitary conveniences' without mentioning that they should be adequate in number in relation to the number of employees, separate for men and women, and well lit and ventilated. Question 2Inadequate lighting in the workplace may affect the level of stress amongst employees. Outline EIGHT other factors associated with the physical environment that may increase, stress at work. This question required candidates to outline factors associated with the physical working environment that might increase levels of stress at work. Answers should have referred to factors such as cramped, dirty or untidy working onditions, workplace layout resulting in a lack of privacy or security, problems with glare, extremes of temperature and/or humidity, inadequate ventilation resulting in stale air (or conversely, draughty conditions), exposure to noise and vibration, inadequate welfare facilities and, for those working outside, inclement weather conditions. Despite the clear signposting, many candidates referred to psychological (eg bullying) and organisational (eg work pressures) stressors instead of restricting their answers to the physical environment as required. Question 3Explain, using an example in EACH case, the meaning of the following terms: (i) `hazard'|(2)| (ii) `risk'|(3)| (iii) `so far as is reasonably practicable'. |(3)| Examiners were disappointed, and a little surprised, to find that a significant number of candidates struggled to provide explanations of such fundamental health and safety terms.
Additionally, in the case of those who did give reasonable explanations, they either then did not give examples or used inappropriate examples that suggested a lack of understanding of what had gone before. This was particularly so in relation to the term `hazard'. As far as 'risk' was concerned, a number of candidates referred to the probability or likelihood of harm but did not expand their explanation to include the likely consequence in terms of the severity of such harm. In attempting to explain `so far is as reasonably practicable', most candidates inferred that this involves balancing risk against cost but fewer were able to go much further in explaining what this means in practical terms.
Question 4In relation to the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977, outline: (i) the functions of a trade-union appointed safety representative|(6)| (ii) the facilities that an employer may need to provide to safety || representatives. | (2)| || In answering part (i) of the question, candidates were expected to outline functions such as examining the causes of accidents, investigating complaints from employees, carrying out safety inspections, making representation to the employer, attending safety committee meetings, and representing employees in consultation with the enforcing authority and receiving information from its inspectors. There were some good answers to this part of the question where candidates were able to show their knowledge of the relevant part of the Regulations.
Unfortunately, these were balanced by some very poor attempts from those who did not possess such knowledge. For part (ii), reference should have been made to the provision of facilities such as a private room in circumstances when this is necessary and access to a telephone, fax machine, photocopier and relevant reference material. Some candidates did not seem to appreciate the meaning of the word `facilities' and outlined instead the rights of safety representatives, such as those relating to training and the allocation of sufficient time to carry out their duties. Question 5 (a)Identify TWO situations where a permit-to-work system might be || considered appropriate. |(2)| b) Outline the key elements of a permit-to-work system. |(6)| For part (a), most candidates were able to identify two situations where a permit-to-work system might be considered appropriate choosing from work in confined spaces, work in flammable atmospheres, work on electrical equipment, hot work, and maintenance work on dangerous process plant or production machinery. Part (b) of the question was not so well answered and relatively few candidates were able to outline all the elements of a permit system, the first of which would be a description and assessment of the task to be performed (including the plant involved and the possible hazards).
This will determine the need for, and nature of, other key elements - namely, the isolation of sources of energy and inlets, the additional precautions required (eg atmospheric monitoring, PPE, emergency equipment) and the duration of the permit. An essential element of a permit-to-work system is, of course, the operation of the permit itself. By means of signatures, the permit should be issued by an authorised person and accepted by the competent person responsible for the work. On completion of the work, the competent person would need to indicate on the permit that the area had been made safe in order for the permit to be cancelled by the authorised person, after which the isolations could be removed. Question 6Outline the actors that may indicate a need for health surveillance of employees in a workplace. (8) This question appeared to cause problems for many candidates, some of whom identified particular situations where health surveillance would be appropriate rather than outlining the factors that might indicate a need for it. In answering, candidates could have chosen from a variety of factors such as ill-health and absence records, first-aid treatments, complaints from employees, the findings of risk assessments, the results of inspections or monitoring activities, changes in methods of work and the relevant requirements of current legislation and approved codes of practice.
Question 7Outline FOUR advantages and FOUR disadvantages of using propaganda posters to communicate health and safety information to the workforce. (8) Posters are a commonly used medium for passing on health and safety messages to the workforce and many candidates will have used them or seen them in use. The question was generally well answered although some found more difficulty in outlining the disadvantages as opposed to the advantages. Advantages of posters include their relatively low cost, their flexibility, their brevity, their use in reinforcing verbal instructions or information and in providing a constant reminder of the importance of health and safety, and the potential to involve employees in their selection and hence in the message being conveyed.
Disadvantages include the need to change posters on a regular basis if they are to be noticed, the fact that they may become soiled, defaced and out-of-date, and the possibility that they might appear to trivialise serious matters. There may also be an over-reliance on posters to convey health and safety information and they may be perceived by unscrupulous employers as an easy, if not particularly effective, way of discharging their health and safety obligations by shifting the responsibility onto the workforce for any accidents that may occur. Question 8 (a) Identify FOUR factors relating to the individual that might increase the risk of accidents at work. (4) (b) Give reasons why maintenance operations may pose particular risks to those undertaking them. 4) This question produced a mixed response from candidates. In answering part (a), many could identify only one or two factors, most commonly the strongly linked psychological factors of attitude and motivation. Only better candidates identified additional factors such as age, lack of skill or experience, lack of familiarity (or possibly overfamiliarity) with the workplace, high stress levels, and health problems, medical conditions or physical disability/incapacity (including that brought about by alcohol or drugs). Similarly, for part (b) there were few candidates who were able to identify a range of relevant reasons for maintenance activities posing special risks.
Such reasons may include the existence of new or different hazards, the lack of familiarity or experience with the tasks or equipment involved, the likelihood that the events leading to the need for maintenance and their contingent hazards would be unpredictable, the possibility that the maintenance operations would have to be carried out in confined spaces or other poor work environments, and the inevitable pressure on maintenance staff to complete the work in as short a time as possible in order to return to normal production. Question 9Explain the difference between HSC Approved Codes of Practice and HSE guidance, giving an example of EACH. (8) Relatively few candidates performed well on this question. Most found it difficult to explain the essential differences between the two types of document and, when examples were given, they were often vague or incorrect. Approved Codes of Practice are approved by the Health and Safety Commission with the consent of the Secretary of State and provide a recognised interpretation of how an employer may comply with relevant legislation.
Although failure to comply with the provision of an ACOP is not in itself an offence, the failure may be cited in court in criminal proceedings as proof that there has been a contravention of the legislation to which the provision relates. Employees must either meet the standards contained in the ACOP or show that they have complied with an equal or better standard. A number of examples could have been cited such as the ACOPs complementing the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Guidance, on the other hand, is issued by the Health and Safety Executive with the intention of giving advice on good practice. The advice is generally more practically based than that contained in an ACOP. Guidance has no legal standing in a court of law.
Examples of HSE guidance documents include those issued on matters such as manual handling, display screen equipment and personal protective equipment. Question 10(a)In relation to risk assessments carried out under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, explain the meaning of the term `suitable and sufficient'. (3) (b)Outline the changes in circumstances that may require a risk assessment to be reviewed. (5) Examiners found that part (a) of this question elicited a generally poor response and few candidates were able to give an adequate explanation of the term `suitable and sufficient' in relation to risk assessment.
Such an assessment should identify all significant hazards and risks, enable priorities to be set, allow the identification of the protective measures required, be appropriate to the nature of the work and be valid over a reasonable period of time. Part (b), in contrast, tended to attract some better answers, with candidates able to outline such circumstances as changes in process, work method or materials (type or quantity), the introduction of new plant or technology, new information becoming available, a change in legislation, changes in personnel (eg the employment of young or disabled persons), and when the results of monitoring (accidents, ill-health and environmental) are not as expected. Question 11Identify EIGHT measures that can be used to monitor an organisation's, health and safety performance. 8) There are various indicators that an organisation can use to assess different aspects of its health and safety performance and Examiners were looking for answers containing a mixture of both proactive and reactive measures. Reactive performance measures include accident and ill-health statistics, incidents of reported near-misses and dangerous occurrences, actions taken by the enforcement authorities and insurance claims. Proactive measures, on the other hand, might include the results of inspections and/or environmental monitoring, safety audit outcomes and the results of medical/health surveillance. Some candidates restricted their answers to the identification of monitoring methods (such as safety nspections, tours and sampling) rather than the measures that are derived from them and which can be compared over time. This sometimes limited the number of marks that could be awarded. THE NATIONAL EXAMINATION BOARD IN OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH NATIONAL GENERAL CERTIFICATE IN OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH PAPER A1: IDENTIFYING AND CONTROLLING HAZARDS JUNE 1999 Answer ALL questionsTime Allowed: 2 hours Section 1This section contains ONE question. You are advised to spend approximately HALF AN HOUR on it. The maximum marks for each part of the question are shown in brackets. | 1|(a)|List THREE types of crane used for lifting operations. |(3)| |(b)|Outline factors to be considered when assessing the suitability of a mobile crane for a lifting operation. (7)| |(c)|Outline a procedure for the safe lifting and lowering of a load by use of a mobile crane, having ensured that the crane has been correctly selected and positioned for the job. |(10)| |||| Section 2This section contains TEN question. You are advised to spend approximately ONE AND A HALF HOURS on it. The maximum marks for each question, or part of a question are shown in brackets. | 2||In relation to occupational dermatitis:|| |(i)|identify TWO common causative agents|(2)| |(ii)|describe the typical symptoms of the condition |(3)| |(iii)|state the sources of information that may help to identify dermatitic substances in the workplace. |(3)| |||| 3||A pneumatic drill is to be used during extensive repair work to the floor of a busy warehouse. | |(i)|Identify by means of a labelled sketch, THREE possible transmission paths the noise from the drill could take. |(3)| |(ii)|Outline appropriate control measures to reduce the noise exposures of the operator AND the warehouse staff. |(5)| |||| 4||State the health and safety risks associated with welding operations. |(8)| |||| 5|(a)|Outline the effects on the human body from a severe electric shock. |(4)| |(b)|Describe how earthing can reduce the risk of receiving an electric shock. |(4)| |||| 6||Identify FOUR different types of hazard that may necessitate the use of special footwear, explaining in EACH case how the footwear affords protection. |(8)| |||| ||The exterior paintwork of a row of shops in a busy high street is due to be repainted. Identify the hazards associated with the work and outline the corresponding precautions to be taken. |(8)| |||| 8|(a)|Identify TWO types of non-ionising radiation, giving an occupational source of EACH. |(4)| |(b)|Outline the health effects associated with exposure to non-ionising radiation. |(4)| |||| 9||Explain the methods of heat transfer that cause the spread of fire. |(8)| |||| 10|(a)|List TWO types of injury that may be caused by the incorrect manual handling of loads. |(2)| |(b)|Outline a good manual handling technique that could be adopted by a person required to lift a load from the ground. |(6)| |||| 1||List EIGHT safe practices to be followed when using a skip for the collection and removal of waste from a construction site. |(8)| NEBOSH Certificate – June 1999 Paper A1 – Identifying and Controlling Hazards Outline answers and guidance given in the NEBOSH examiner’s Report Section 1 Question 1 This question was designed to test candidates' knowledge on the use and operation of cranes. Part (a) required candidates to identify three types of crane and it was envisaged that this would cause little difficulty, particularly