By James Digger Stonemasonry Diploma Level 2 Student
During our time at Exeter Cathedral, we participated in five Health and Safety courses:
Working at Height
Safety in the Use of Abrasive Wheels
Safe Use and Erection/Dismantling of Mobile Towers
The first course we undertook was Working at Height. We have studied this at College and so this felt like more of a refresher course than something we had no prior understanding of. However, we welcomed the opportunity to attend as we had an upcoming Health and Safety exam on our return.
Asbestos Awareness, HAVS Awareness and Safety in the Use of Abrasive Wheels were all courses on subjects we had not yet covered intensively at college, and so we were able to use this opportunity to learn about themes more relevant to our trade than that of the generic construction topics. Because we felt that these topics were relevant to us, we were able to stay focused and engaged on the information provided.
During the Asbestos Awareness course, we were able to see what asbestos can do to the lungs and then hear from a man who was suffering from a disease caused by his exposure to asbestos.
The HAVS Awareness session also had a video with someone who had suffered from being exposed to vibrations for too long. The pain and distress from white finger came across as a lot more unpleasant than it looks.
Although the Abrasive Wheels course did not cover the same consequences as the other two courses, it did show us the dangers of using the likes of angle grinders and disc cutters incorrectly. Having seen rather unpleasant photos of injuries caused by working incorrectly, we felt that the dangers of the industry had been put into perspective.
Finally, we learnt about the safe use of mobile towers. This was a very interesting course as it had a practical element that we were able to take part in. Neither of us had used a mobile tower before and so we learnt the two techniques of erecting the tower. Having already taken the working at height course, we were able to put what we had learnt into practice.
These courses were extremely beneficial as we were able to come away with five certificates which are recognised in the industry, which in turn may lead to our employment. We were also able to experience working at a fantastic Cathedral with really welcoming and hardworking employees, giving us an inspired outlook on work rate of speed, focus and quality, which will help us to improve our skills as stonemasons.