Be prepared for the NEBOSH General Certificate and get some context about the course with our recommended revision reads.
The NEBOSH General Certificate helps you to positively influence your health and safety culture at work. You're excited to get started, so why wait? Here's some bedtime reading to whet your appetite and prepare your mind for the qualification.
- Whatever you choose to read, make sure it's relevant to NEBSOH and reflective of the current syllabus
- Show your trainer any materials outside of the syllabus and discuss how it'll help your studies
- Subscribe to official bodies, like HSE, to make sure any peripheral information you take in is lawful and relevant to the UK
Let's start with your course bible. The new NEBOSH General Certificate course covers 11 elements split into two modules (NG1 and NG2).
The syllabus is a step-by-step reveal of what's to come - why we should manage health and safety in the workplace, through to hazard spotting. You can read the full breakdown on our course contents page.
It doesn't just tell you what's in the course, but it also explains how you'll benefit from it.
You might feel inspired to update your CV...
Striking accomplishments like 'developed safe systems of work', 'investigated incidents' and 'managed health and safety management systems' are yours in 10 weeks (or just six, if you're doing the Fast Track).
A practical risk assessment (NG2) looms at the end of the course. There's no need to lose any sleep over it, especially with the NEBOSH assessment pack.
It's a 19-pager tells you how and where to do the assessment, and towards the end, explains the marking criteria and the results. It's a must-read by all accounts.
NEBOSH breaks it down into four stages of assessment:
- Description of the organisation and methodology - the whats, whens and wheres of the hazard
- Risk assessment - hazard categories, who could be harmed, controls and timescales
- Priorities (3 actions with justifications) - three high-priority actions with moral, legal and fiscal justification
- Review, communicate and check - setting the review date, how you'll tell your colleagues about the findings of the risk assessment and how you'll follow it up
You'll get a sense of how methodical and detail-orientated risk assessments are. You'll go into the training with your critical eyes open to risks and hazards.
We also have a guide to completing your NEBOSH General Certificate assessment to support you.
Bonus read - NEBOSH NG2 submission guide
NEBOSH walks you through the time frames, deadlines and how to submit your docs once you've finished the practical risk assessment. One issue - it's from 2018. NEBOSH hasn't issued a guide for 2020. By all means, download it, but follow your trainer's advice as gospel when the time comes.
Manual handling features throughout the NEBOSH General Certificate course, so it's worth dipping into the official advice from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in its manual handling guide.
In element 3: Managing risk - understanding people and processes, you start looking at manual handling as a risk control exercise, but it comes into its own during element 6: Musculoskeletal health.
You'll talk about the common types of manual handling injuries, plus how to manually lift loads safely and how to control risk by critically looking at the task.
Musculoskeletal injuries were blamed for 681,500 sick days last year, so if you can help reduce injuries, that's a huge return on investment for your employer.
The HSE has released its health and safety stats for 2018/19 - it refreshes the data every year.
Don't worry, it's not a long-winded report. The infographic shows you the full extent of workplace injuries and illnesses. Why should you read it? It's all context that'll explain why the course syllabus is built the way it is. Take a close look at:
- Psychological health, covered in element 5: How many sick days were caused by depression, anxiety and poor mental health?
- Physical health, covered in element 5: How many sick days were work-related?
- Chemical agents, covered in element 7: The number of deaths related to asbestos
It'll give meaning to your work.
Moving away from NEBOSH, 'Failure of risk management' is an engaging 270-page turner about 'which risk analysis methods work, which don’t, and how to tell the difference'.
It's wider reading that's not critical for the course, but it's a reliable introduction to the problems faced by risk managers.
It was penned just before the 2008 financial crisis by consultant Douglas Hubbard, who wanted it to be 'relevant after the next big natural disaster, major product safety recall, or catastrophic industry accident.'
It balances your point of view. You'll see risk assessment and all its flaws in a global context.
There are two chapters that focus on measuring uncertainty and risk too which will give more dimension to your 5x5 risk calculator and assessment.
What will you take from it? NEBOSH's principles will help you to manage your health and safety and safeguard your company against risk, but it's not the only way of doing it. For example, we provide health and safety training from numerous other awarding bodies, IOSH and Highfield to name just two others.
Part one introduces you to risk management, crisis, the history of risk management and what's an acceptable method of risk assessment.
Part two explores why risk assessment is broken and how we view risks (as expected losses, or as a good thing).
The final part discusses how to fix risk assessment, which again, brings your attention outside of your workplace.
If you're looking for inspiration on Amazon, chances are you've hovered over these two NEBOSH textbooks:
- Introduction to Health and Safety at Work: for the NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety
- Health and Safety at Work Revision Guide: for the NEBOSH National General Certificate
They're a bit pricey. Are they worth the money?
If you've already booked your NEBOSH course, the fee covers all your course materials and your trainer, who's a NEBOSH expert.
You've already secured the most up-to-date course books, so shouldn't need to invest in NEBOSH relics.
We update both annually so our learners are never out of touch with the current NEBOSH syllabus and best practice.
The health and safety landscape is constantly changing and unlike digital publications, textbooks aren't easily corrected.
If you do buy a copy of the introduction or the revision guide, take the info about legislation and references to best practice with a pinch of salt - it might not reflect what's relevant to health and safety in 2020.
If you aren't sure about the information on its pages, check with your trainer or cross-check it with the NEBOSH website.
23.5 million working days lost due to work-related ill health, 29% of which were attributed to musculoskeletal disorders = 29% of 2350000 = 681,500 sick days.