Publication Spotlight: A Study Book For The NEBOSH National General Certificate: Essential Health & Safety Guide

General Safety By Matthew Coombes

When I took my NEBOSH General Certificate Open Book Exam, sat right beside me the whole time was my study book. Like a faithful companion, it’s my go-to for support as a professional, and I found it to be invaluable throughout my studying and exam.

What is it?

Created especially for the latest specification of the NEBOSH National General Certificate, this publication is the 11th instalment in a successful line of study books created by RMS Publishing. The first edition of this book was published over 19 years ago and though the content has changed over the years, the key concept remains the same.

A study book for NEBOSH learners & a handy reference guide for safety professionals, created by experienced NEBOSH tutors and experts in health and safety.

Who is it for?

NEBOSH NG1 Open Book Examination
The latest specification for the NEBOSH General Certificate is assessed online as an ‘open book examination’. Throughout your exam, you’re encouraged to use your study book, the internet and other resources available to you in order to plan, research and answer your question paper.

This study book has been created specifically to support learners undertaking the NG1 exam and NG2 risk assessment. The content of the book is appropriate to the level of the assessment and it includes pictures, diagrams, tables and broken-down information which can all be referenced as part of your question paper.

The book contains a massive amount of information on key topics that every health and safety professional should know. It’s not possible to know everything about every single hazard, so it is crucial to have a resource that you can rely on for reference when you need it.

Best features of the study book?

I’ve spoken before about what you can expect from the NEBOSH Open Book Exams, however, the book contains a chapter for each of the 11 elements of the syllabus as set out by NEBOSH ensuring that all basis are covered. Each chapter contains essential information to develop your understanding of the key topics, practice exam style questions, diagrams and perhaps more crucially for your exam, a list of references relating to each chapter.

I mention the references as potentially the most crucial because they reduce any further research that you may need to do during your exam, saving you time on the clock as you trawl the internet looking for the difference between underlying causes and root causes.

The sample questions in the book have been created by NEBOSH tutors to reflect the types of questions that you will encounter during your exam, however each exam will be based on its own independent scenario. They’re designed to provide learners with an opportunity to try their hand at a topic, and self-assess how confident they feel with the content. If you’re taking a taught course with ACT, you can even ask your tutor to have a look at your answers and provide you with some feedback.

Revision checklist
RMS were thorough in deciding on the content of this study book and it even includes a revision checklist that you can use to ensure that you’ve left no stone unturned.

The checklist is intended to be ticked off when you feel like you’ve got a handle on a topic and can be a great exercise while you’re studying, before your exam, or even after you’ve passed to make sure there’s no gaps in your knowledge as a professional.

How to use the study book for your open book exam

The content of your upcoming NEBOSH NG1 exam is known only to NEBOSH themselves. Each paper uses a scenario based on a real-life workplace situation and contains a series of questions relating to health and safety topics, which you must answer in relation to the scenario.

This new format means that even if you’re not familiar with the context of the scenario, you’re not dead in the water. You have time to plan, research and make an educated answer to each question.

Step 1:

Break down the question
Have you ever heard the phrase “read the question, then answer the question”? Where many learners go wrong, is in not properly answering the question.

NEBOSH have been kind enough to remind learners under each relevant question “You should support your answer, where applicable, using relevant information from the scenario”. This means looking through your scenario and picking out relevant information to answer the question.

Some learners have told me that they print out one copy of the scenario for each of the exam paper questions, then highlight all of the relevant information to that question. Others will number, highlight or colour code information. Whichever way you want to do it, pick out the key information for that question.

Step 2:

Research your answer
Once you’ve found all of the relevant information, you may need to do some research or further reading to contextualise what you’re trying to say, in relation to the question. The NEBOSH sample NG1 paper has a good question related to this…(You can download a copy of the sample paper from this link, scroll to the bottom and click “Sample question paper”, then download NG1, NGC1 sample paper).

Task 2: Why near misses should be investigated
“What arguments can you give to convince the committee to investigate this car park near miss? (10 marks)
Note: You should support your answer, where applicable, using relevant information from the scenario.”

The near miss is only mentioned in the paper’s scenario four times, but there’s ten marks up for grabs on this question. So, it should be clear to us that we’re going to need to explain common arguments for investigating incidents, and then relate them to the scenario.

Out comes the RMS NG study book! In this example, all I had to do was flick to the index, and find ‘Investigation’. Pages 40 and 145 have information on Investigating accidents / incidents and ill-health. Page 40 tells me that investigating incidents is a good way to learn lessons.

We can look at the circumstances that occurred for this incident to happen, and implement controls to address them.

Looking at the scenario, it mentions that the operations manager states that “this (type of incident) has been happening for years” in relation to the near miss, so part of my answer would be:

“One argument for investigating the incident in the car park is that the operations manager mentioned that near misses like the one that occurred in the car park have been happening for years. Investigating this near miss will help us to learn lessons and implement controls to prevent the near miss from happening again, or becoming an accident in the future.”

You should plan your answer carefully to each question/task within the paper, and set aside as much time as possible over the 24-hour period. It’s better to have more time than you need, than not enough time!

ACT are the distributor for RMS Publishing materials, if you’re looking to buy a revision guide for your course, feel free to contact our advisors:
+44 (0) 1384 447916
Or purchase on our website:

National General Certificate Study Book

Related Articles

Page Loading

We now accept Klarna as a payment method. You will see this as an available option at checkout when completing the purchase. Dismiss