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Machine safety course is `the world’s first`

02 March, 2009

The University of Teesside has teamed up with the Billingham-based safety consultancy Laidler Associates to offer what is thought to be the world’s first academic qualification for machinery safety. The five-day course, followed by 16 weeks of distance learning, will use virtual reality (VR) techniques to give realistic representations of machine environments and hazards.

The University Certificate in Professional Development (UPCD) in Machine Safety will give an academic route for the professional development of safety engineers. As well as the qualification, successful students will also receive 30 credits towards other university courses.



The VR technology (above) will allow students to “walk” around a machine looking for hazards, and to start, stop and reset the machine. They will have to discover and assess the hazards as if they were carrying out a real-world assessment. They will also be able to perform tasks such as checking documentation and inspecting the interior of electrical cabinets. The technology will allow the performance of all students to be assessed for the same hazards.  

“This course can benefit students by providing them with a formal introduction to the issue of machine safety, from both a technical and a legal standpoint,” says lan Shaw, a senior lecturer in manufacturing in the Teesside University’s engineering department. “It will fulfil the requirement of Continuing Professional Development for those involved in the provision, maintenance, and use of machinery.”

The course will cover topics such as risk assessments, equipment inspections, CE marking assessments, the Puwer 98 regulations, and the application of standards. It is being held at venues around the UK, starting this month.

Laidler points out that the £1,450 course will provide companies with their own in-house safety assessors, avoiding the need for them to bring in costly external consultants. 




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