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Health and safety Dissertation Topics

Health and safety Dissertation Topics

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Example health and safety dissertation topic 1:

Prison inmates and health and safety: A forgotten learning opportunity.

Those prisoners who are 'trusted' may, either upon the wings they inhabit, or in areas open to the public, become cleaners or kitchen assistants. For both duties, health and safety training must be given and basic skills attained. Having attained such skills, prisoners are rewarded with NQT certificates. This dissertation looks at the attainment of these awards within prison and asks whether, in preparing prisoners for reintegration into society, all prisoners should, as part of their rehabilitation, be required to undertake health and safety training. This is a dissertation that combines the theory and practice of health and safety with wider issues of employability and aspects of criminology and would, accordingly, be particularly well suited to a student undertaking joint honours.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Crow, N. (1995). 'System kitchens: improving catering quality and value for money in HM Prison Service'. Facilities, vol. 13(12), pp. 21-25.
  • Giles, M., Tram Le, A., Allan, M., Lees, C., Larsen, A-C. and Bennett, L. (2004). To train or not to train: The role of education and training in prison to work transitions. Adelaide, Aust: National Centre for Vocational Education Research.
  • Liggins, M. (2004). The prison curriculum in England: A review for the Offenders' Learning and Skills Unit. London: Learning and Skills Development Agency.

Example health and safety dissertation topic 2:

'Hard hats for conkers' - Dispelling the myths of health and safety in schools.

Challenging the issue of health and safety as presented in various examples of the popular press, this dissertation seeks to dispel the myths that surround health and safety in schools. 'Hard hats for conker playing' is neither legislated nor necessary, in the same way that health and safety regulations have not banned the wearing of ties in schools. However, health and safety authorities have suggested that, for laboratory work involving Bunsen burners, a 'dangling tie' may not be advisable, and also issued guidance that where pupils are subject to bullying, a 'clip-on' tie may reduce the likelihood of harm. Arguing that health and safety has a pivotal role to play in the protecting and safeguarding of society's youngest citizens, this is a dissertation that seeks to combine theory and practice as well as primary research. Its aim, to dispel the myths and present a reasoned account as to the necessity for health and safety guidance to be given and followed in schools.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Almond, P. (2009). 'The dangers of hanging baskets: 'Regulatory myths' and media representations of health and safety regulation'. Journal of Law and Society, vol. 36(3), pp. 352-375.
  • Borrows, P. (2002). 'Risk assessment in science for secondary schools'. In, Amos, S. and Boohan, R., Aspects of teaching secondary science. London: Routledge Falmer for the Open University, pp. 84-94.
  • RosÚn, M. and Jansson, B. (2000). 'How to act - Implementing health and safety promotion in organizations'. Health Policy and Planning, vol. 15(3), pp. 247-254.

Example health and safety dissertation topic 3:

The case for fibreglass ladders: A study.

Though the number of people killed through electrocution each year whilst using ladders is statistically small, the number who sustain injuries is much greater. Though this dissertation focuses first, upon the work of electricians, it argues that the proposals advanced in this study should be adopted throughout the building trade as a matter of urgency. The rubber insulation provided by 'feet' is frequently torn off through careless or prolonged use. Wooden ladders may be heavy, and costly. Instead, this dissertation investigates the practicality of requiring that fibreglass ladders be used, first for all electrical work, and then subsequently introduced for all ladders, regardless of the industry or domestic application. This is a dissertation that would benefit from the undertaking of primary research in the form of interviews with the manufacturers of ladders as well as tradespersons.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Beyer, R.R., McCarthy, R.L. and Wood, C.T. (1994). 'Ergonomic analysis of extension ladders'. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, vol. 38(14), pp. 816-820.
  • Moghtader, J.C., Himel, H.N., Demun, E.M., Bellian, K.T. and Edlich, R.F. (1993). 'Electrical burn injuries of workers using portable aluminium ladders near overhead power lines'. Burns, vol. 19(5), pp. 441-443.
  • Shepherd, G.W., Kahler, R.J. and Cross, J. (2006). 'Ergonomic design interventions - A case study involving portable ladders'. Ergonomics, vol. 49(3), pp. 221-234.

Example health and safety dissertation topic 4:

From Plimsoll line to emergency circuits: An overview of the development of health and safety on board ships.

Combining an interest in sailing with the health and safety aspects of marine engineering, this is a dissertation that combines theory and practice over a 200 year period. Accordingly, whilst aspects of this dissertation would benefit from primary interviews - for instance with regard to how senior commissioning engineers validate the worthiness of emergency circuits on board new builds, it is primarily secondary based. Charting and evaluating the growth and development of health and safety at sea this is primarily a qualitative research topic that has the scope to be moulded to suit individual interests; from tug boats to cruise-ships, from tankers to luxury yachts.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Brauer, R.L. (2005). Safety and health for engineers. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Interscience.
  • O'Connor, P.J. and O'Connor, N. (2006). 'Work-related maritime fatalities'. Accident Analysis & Prevention, vol. 38(4), pp. 737-741.
  • Robson, L.S., Clarke, J.A., Cullen, K., Bielecky, A., Severin, C., Bigelow, P.L., Irvin, E., Culyer, A. and Mahood, Q. (2007). 'The effectiveness of occupational health and safety management system interventions: A systematic review'. Safety Science, vol. 45(3), pp. 329-353.

Example health and safety dissertation topic 5:

Reviewing the success of health and safety in the work of arboriculturalists.

Lobbied by health and safety activist, the decision of the government to mandate licences for those operating chainsaws has transformed the working lives of those arboriculturalists who specialise in the pruning and felling of trees. In the first part of this study, the dissertation presents the declining numbers of injuries and deaths within the profession over the last ten years using a variety of graphs. Thereafter, in the second part of the dissertation, practising tree fellers and their clients are interviewed to garner both their present understanding of health and safety protocols and to assess additional safeguards that could be introduced into the field. Finally, having analysed those interviews, the dissertation presents a number of reasoned suggestions for the further enhancement of existing health and safety practices.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Alli, B.O. (2009). Fundamental principles of occupational health and safety. Geneva: International Labour Organization.
  • British Standards: BS3998: 2010 Tree work. London: BSI.
  • Mayhew, C. (2007). 'The management of major arboricultural incidents'. Arboricultural Journal, vol. 30(3), pp. 213-222.

Example health and safety dissertation topic 6:

Site safety, temporary fencing, and security: A need for simplification.

This dissertation focuses on a particular aspect of health and safety at work within the construction industry: site security and safety. In reviewing both existing practices and legislation, it argues that there is an urgent need for a review of protocols that has been hastened by the unprecedented rise in metal and equipment thefts from such sites over the last three years. This dissertation suggests that the present laws relating to the height restrictions of barbed wire and coiled razor wire when combined with the temporary nature of exterior perimeter fencing such as that manufactured by Heras, has created a legislative minefield in which, the contractor may, in an attempt to 'make safe' both the site and those working upon it, be infringing those regulations that guarantee the safe passage of those who are either located adjacent to such sites or who enter such sites unauthorised. This is a dissertation that deals with a very specific aspect of health and safety and would be ideally suited to someone seeking a career that encompasses both health and safety and aspects of planning regulations.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Boba, R. and Santos, R. (2006). 'Burglary at single-family house construction sites'. Problem-oriented guides for police problem-specific guides series guide (43). Madison, WI: Center for Problem-Oriented Policing.
  • Boba, R. and Santos, R. (2008). 'A review of the research, practice, and evaluation of construction site theft occurrence and prevention: Directions for future research'. Security Journal, vol. 21(4), pp. 246-263.
  • Said, H. and El-Rayes, K. (2010). 'Optimizing the planning of construction site security for critical infrastructure projects'. Automation in Construction, vol. 19(2), pp. 221-234.

Example health and safety dissertation topic 7:

Risk assessment and university field trips: A rejoinder as to perspectives.

Risk assessment within academic departments such as Chemistry and Geography are well known and the protocols established. However, this dissertation proposes that risk assessments are not always given the deference they deserve by departments such as History and English. Interviewing the health and safety department personnel of three Russell Group universities (along with those in the departments aforementioned), this dissertation is a comparative study of differing perspectives to risk assessment both within and between institutions that operate in the same sector. The findings of this study (which will be based on both qualitative and quantitative research methods) has the potential to contribute to the furtherance of health and safety throughout the sector nationwide and should thus be readily publishable.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Bullard, J. (2010). Health and safety in the field: Key methods in geography. London: SAGE.
  • Cook, V.A., Phillips, D. and Holden, J. (2006). 'Geography fieldwork in a 'risk society''. Area, vol. 38(4), pp. 413-420.
  • Herrick, C. (2009). 'Lost in the field: Ensuring student learning in the 'threatened' geography field trip'. Area, vol. 42(1), pp. 108-116.

Example health and safety dissertation topic 8:

Lone employee working: Minimising risks, maximising safety.

Centred upon independent newsagents and allied shops (such as confectioners) that tend to employ one or two personnel; this is an exploratory study. Mindful of the dangers that may befall the lone shopkeeper - including, for instance theft, accident, and sudden ill health, this dissertation proposes a 'solution' through which such lone workers can be safeguarded in their work. Advocating the adoption (either in a voluntary manner or through mandated legislation) of remote sensing devices - which would require the lone worker to acknowledge that they are 'not in danger' at predetermined intervals, this study first evaluates the feasibility of such devices and thereafter ascertains perceptions of their usefulness and desirability by interviewing lone workers. This dissertation address an area of health and safety that is oft overlooked in contemporary literature, making it worthy of study at this juncture.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Brennan, W. (2010). 'Safer lone working: Assessing the risk to health professionals'. British Journal of Nursing, vol. 19(22), pp. 1428-1430.
  • O'Toole, M.F. (2006). Lone workers: A unique and ongoing safety management challenge. ASSE Professional Development Conference and Exposition, June 11-14, Seattle, WA.
  • Pitt, M. (2007). 'Keeping the workplace safe'. Human Resource Management International Digest, vol. 15(6), 43-44.

Example health and safety dissertation topic 9:

Chimney repair safety: Time to move beyond mere scaffolding?

Though the adoption of scaffolding for the ascent to rooftops in the maintenance, repair and construction of chimney stacks has been a welcome improvement to the health and safety environment that hitherto dominated the industry (the use of ladders), this dissertation suggests that the present reliance on scaffolding leaves much to be desired. Accordingly, this study proposes two alternative mechanisms that would further enhance present health and safety and carries out a cost benefit analysis of both. The first, the requirement for harnesses and ropes to be attached to chimneys being repaired, is a relatively low cost option but would not provide additional safety for those installing new chimney stacks. In contrast, the use of lift cradles would ensure that all workmen engaged in such work performed their duties from the safety of a cradle but carries with it significantly greater costs.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Department for Communities and Local Government (2009). Working at heights. London: HMSO.
  • Durnall, T.J. and Proverbs, D. 'An alternative model of motivation for steeplejacks within the petrochemical and power generation industries'. Management, vol. 115(24), pp. 115-124.
  • Harris, A. (2012). 'Rising to the challenge'. Engineering & Technology, vol. 7(10), pp. 56-58.

Example health and safety dissertation topic 10:

Protecting the professionals: Rising risks and minimising harm in nursing and teaching.

Concerned by the increased level of knife crimes within schools, and the incidences of abuse suffered by NHS professionals, this dissertation investigates the use of knife-proof vests. Though it may seem, at first sight, an over-reaction, this dissertation argues that through conducting a pilot study with nursing and teaching staff at respectively two hospitals and schools in the Greater Manchester area, it will be possible to gauge the effect that the wearing of such protective clothing has on the confidence of staff to deal with the unpredictable (and potentially life threatening) situations that they face on a daily basis. Using qualitative interviews, this dissertation will then present the findings of the study and make recommendations as to the desirability of giving such professionals protective clothing. In testing the hypothesis, this study has no preconceptions as to the outcome of the pilot and accordingly, this is a dynamic piece of primary research that will develop as the study is undertaken.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Eades, C., Grimshaw, R., Silvestri, A. and Solomon, E. (2007). Knife crime: A review of evidence and policy. London: Centre for Crime and Justice Studies.
  • Gray, J. T. and Walker, A. (2009). "At the sharp end": Does ambulance dispatch data from south Yorkshire support the picture of increased weapon-related violence in the UK?. Emergency Medicine Journal, 26(10), 741-742.
  • Mott, A., Dobson, P., Walton, J., Highfield, P., Harries, L., Seal, R., & Butland, P. (2009). 'Breakaway training for NHS staff: Time for a fresh approach?' Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, vol. 4(3), 37-46.

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