What is the NEBOSH General Certificate?

General Safety By Rhiannon Davies

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The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular health and safety qualifications in the UK, held by over 220,000 people across a wide range of job roles and industries. It provides a solid understanding of health and safety issues that can affect organisations of all shapes and sizes.

What Does NEBOSH Stand for?

NEBOSH stands for the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health. They are a global health and safety training provider that offers health, safety, and environmental qualifications.

NEBOSH General Certificate Overview

The NEBOSH General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety is an internationally recognised health and safety qualification, and is considered the industry standard. It is developed and regularly updated by leading industry professionals and covers best practice and relevant legislation for a number of common hazards across all industries.


Is NEBOSH a Professional Qualification?

The NEBOSH General Certificate is recognised by all the major professional membership bodies, including the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM) and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). This means that anyone who successfully completes the General Certificate qualification can apply for chartered membership of these organisations.


Who is the Course for?

As the General Certificate is relevant to every workplace, it’s the perfect course for managers, supervisors, or anybody with the responsibility to manage health and safety in their organisation. This course also provides a solid foundation of knowledge for anyone wanting to start their career in health and safety, and is the perfect precursor to the NEBOSH National Diploma for Occupational Health and Safety Management Professionals.


Is It Mandatory?

Most organisations do require anyone in a health and safety oriented role to have gained the General Certificate qualification, but it is not legally mandatory. Some organisations may choose to hire a candidate without the qualification and then pay for them to study as they work, to help them learn on the job.


What Level is the Course?

The NEBOSH General Certificate is rated at Level 6 in the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). This is comparable to NQF/QCF Level 3 Qualification in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (the equivalent to an A-Level).


Is NEBOSH General Certificate Difficult?

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most challenging health and safety qualifications out there. The course requires dedication – NEBOSH recommend learners spend at least 40 hours carrying out private study in addition to the minimum 68 taught hours. There are no entry requirements for the course but learners must have a good standard of English.


How Long is the Certificate Valid for?

NEBOSH General Certificate qualifications don’t expire. You just need to successfully complete both units within a five year time frame to pass the qualification, and once achieved, it remains valid. However, legislation and best practice often change, so it’s a good idea to regularly take out some form of refresher training even after you’ve gained your qualification.


What Does the NEBOSH General Certificate Cover?

Health and Safety Foundations

The course covers the foundation of good health and safety – this includes the moral, financial, and legal reasons to manage workplace health and safety, the relevant legislation and duties for employers, and the selection of contractors.


Health and Safety Management Systems

This qualification also looks at a range of health and safety management systems, including ISO 45001 and HSG65, as well as covering what a good management system should look like, how to set targets, and how to keep management systems current.


Risk Assessment and Control

Over half of the syllabus is dedicated to exploring a range of hazards in order to help you conduct a detailed risk assessment of your own workplace for the NG2 unit assessment. These hazards include fire, electricity, and musculoskeletal health among others.


Monitoring and Measuring Health and Safety Performance

The syllabus also covers methods of monitoring health and safety performance, as well as techniques for investigating incidents and auditing.


How is the NEBOSH General Certificate assessed?

There are two assessments for the General Certificate:

(1) The NG1 assessment is an Open Book Examination (also known as an OBE). OBEs are taken online and at home on a specific date set by NEBOSH, and you are allowed to consult your study books, course notes, and the internet to help you with your answers.

NEBOSH OBEs contain a realistic workplace scenario, and ask you questions relating to this scenario. For example, the scenario may describe a warehouse where a worker has recently been injured by a piece of machinery, and one of the questions would ask you what steps you would take as their health and safety manager to prevent the incident from happening again.

(2) The NG2 assessment is a detailed risk assessment and action plan for your workplace. These assessments can be completed separately – if you pass one and not the other, you only have to resubmit the assessment you haven’t passed.


Who Should Consider Taking the NEBOSH General Certificate?

The NEBOSH General Certificate is applicable to all industries and sectors, and doesn’t come with entry requirements, which means it’s a great fit for a wide range of people. However there are a few roles that would especially benefit from taking the qualification, such as…


1. Managers and Supervisors

Anyone with responsibility for others in their workplace should consider taking the General Certificate course, regardless of whether they are specifically in a health and safety role. Many organisations view knowledge of health and safety as a core management skill and gaining a qualification in it can demonstrate your commitment to your duties.


2. Health and Safety Professionals

The NEBOSH General Certificate is the industry standard for health and safety professionals, and is recommended for anyone who would like to go on to study for a NEBOSH Diploma for Occupational Health and Safety Management Professionals. Even those who have been health and safety professionals for a number of years could benefit from taking the qualification in order to stay up to date on best practice and relevant legislation.


3. Individuals Looking to Start a Career in Health and Safety

This qualification provides a strong foundation of knowledge that is crucial for anybody wanting to start their career in health and safety. It is a common requirement for most health and safety specific roles, and demonstrates your commitment to your career growth to prospective employers.


Benefits of Taking the NEBOSH General Certificate

Once you’ve completed this qualification, you’ll be able confidently carry out detailed risk assessments of your workplace and make recommendations based on what you find. You’ll also be able to develop and implement a detailed action plan to manage workplace risks, and be able to influence a positive health and safety culture within your company.

You can also use the General Certificate to increase your job opportunities or negotiate your salary or role at your current job.


How to Obtain the NEBOSH General Certificate

The first step to achieving your NEBOSH General Certificate is to get in touch with our Sales team.

Please feel free to email uscall us, or explore our site to find a study option that suits you.


Course Availability and Locations

You can study for the NEBOSH General Certificate face-to-face on our classroom course or online through video conference or eLearning:

Our classroom health & safety courses take place throughout the year, and are all based in the Midlands.

Our virtual classroom courses take place over virtual conferencing software like Zoom or Teams, so you can enjoy live and interactive teaching from the comfort of your own home. Virtual classroom courses also take place throughout the year, click here to find a date that suits you.

This qualification is also available our custom-built, health and safety eLearning platform. This allows you to study anywhere with an internet connection and at any time, at a pace that suits you.


Course Duration and Format

Our classroom and virtual classroom courses are taught across nine days, broken down in to two study periods. The tutor sets work overnight and in between study periods so that learners can continue to develop their understanding. Mock assessments are used throughout the course and learners can receive individual feedback to help understand what NEBOSH will be looking for in their assessments.

ACT also offer the General Certificate as an in-house course, perfect for training multiple people within an organisation at the same time.


Prerequisites for Taking the Course

There are no prerequisites for taking the course, and no entry requirements. All that NEBOSH recommend is that learners have a good standard of English, equivalent to an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.0 or higher in IELTS tests.


Costs and Fees Associated With the Course

The cost of the course itself will depend on your learning method. NEBOSH also charge a fee for each assessment. As of April 2023, this fee for the General Certificate course is £85 per unit.


Is the Course Worth It?

If you’re looking to kickstart your career in health and safety then yes – it’s worth it! Gaining a General Certificate qualification will not only give you the knowledge and skills you’ll need to use everyday in your role as a health and safety professional, but it will also boost your CV and is a great foundation for further education down the line.


Is NEBOSH Better Than IOSH?

NEBOSH and IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) are both leaders when it comes to health and safety qualifications in the UK. Both are highly respected, but NEBOSH qualifications are slightly more academic and have more comprehensive assessments, and so are aimed at those who want to build a career in health and safety. IOSH courses are great for awareness training for those who have a responsibility for health and safety (such as supervisors, managers, and HR managers) but are not in a specific health and safety role.


Explore Our Health & Safety Courses

Now that you know all that there is to know about the NEBOSH General Certificate, it’s time to find a learning method that works for you.


NEBOSH General Certificate Classroom Course

Our classroom course consists of expert tutor-led face-to-face teaching which also provides an opportunity to discuss the topics with other learners and the tutor. This option would suit those that enjoy interaction in a classroom environment but also
has a number of features that may be helpful to those learners who have not done formal study and examinations for some time.


NEBOSH General Certificate Virtual Classroom Course

Our Virtual Classroom method combines the interactive and personalised experience of our classroom course with the convenience of our eLearning courses to deliver a live classroom-style course that’s taught online, without the added expense and trouble of having to travel or book overnight accommodation.


NEBOSH General Certificate eLearning

Our online course is a great method of learning for those without the time or availability to attend a taught course. Our eLearning course contains all the same materials taught in the classroom-based option, without the added cost of having to take time off from work.

One of the best things about studying online is the ability to learn at a pace that suits you and your lifestyle. With our easy-to-use online platform, you can simply click resume and you can pick up right where you left off. Our eLearning platform can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

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