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September 2011

Examiners Report
NEBOSH International
General Certificate in
Occupational Health
and Safety - IGC2

Examiners Report



General comments

Comments on individual questions

2011 NEBOSH, Dominus Way, Meridian Business Park, Leicester LE19 1QW
tel: 0116 263 4700

fax: 0116 282 4000



The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health is a registered charity, number 1010444
T(s):exrpts/I/IGC2 1109




NEBOSH (The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) was formed in 1979
as an independent examining board and awarding body with charitable status. We offer a
comprehensive range of globally-recognised, vocationally-related qualifications designed to meet the
health, safety, environmental and risk management needs of all places of work in both the private and
public sectors.
Courses leading to NEBOSH qualifications attract over 25,000 candidates annually and are offered by
over 400 course providers in 65 countries around the world. Our qualifications are recognised by the
relevant professional membership bodies including the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health
(IOSH) and the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM).
NEBOSH is an awarding body recognised and regulated by the UK regulatory authorities:

The Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual) in England

The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) in Wales
The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) in Northern Ireland
The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) in Scotland

Where appropriate, NEBOSH follows the latest version of the GCSE, GCE, Principal Learning and
Project Code of Practice published by the regulatory authorities in relation to examination setting and
marking (available at the Ofqual website While not obliged to adhere to this code,
NEBOSH regards it as best practice to do so.
Candidates scripts are marked by a team of Examiners appointed by NEBOSH on the basis of their
qualifications and experience. The standard of the qualification is determined by NEBOSH, which is
overseen by the NEBOSH Council comprising nominees from, amongst others, the Health and Safety
Executive (HSE), the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and
the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). Representatives of course providers, from
both the public and private sectors, are elected to the NEBOSH Council.
This report on the Examination provides information on the performance of candidates which it is
hoped will be useful to candidates and tutors in preparation for future examinations. It is intended to
be constructive and informative and to promote better understanding of the syllabus content and the
application of assessment criteria.

Any enquiries about this report publication should be addressed to:

Dominus Way
Meridian Business Park
LE10 1QW
0116 263 4700
0116 282 4000


General comments

Many candidates are well prepared for this unit assessment and provide comprehensive and relevant
answers in response to the demands of the question paper. This includes the ability to demonstrate
understanding of knowledge by applying it to workplace situations.
There are always some candidates, however, who appear to be unprepared for the unit assessment
and who show both a lack of knowledge of the syllabus content and a lack of understanding of how
key concepts should be applied to workplace situations.
In order to meet the pass standard for this assessment, acquisition of knowledge and understanding
across the syllabus are prerequisites. However, candidates need to demonstrate their knowledge and
understanding in answering the questions set. Referral of candidates in this unit is invariably because
they are unable to write a full, well-informed answer to one or more of the questions asked.
Some candidates find it difficult to relate their learning to the questions and as a result offer responses
reliant on recalled knowledge and conjecture and fail to demonstrate a sufficient degree of
understanding. Candidates should prepare themselves for this vocational examination by ensuring
their understanding, not rote-learning pre-prepared answers.
Common pitfalls
It is recognised that many candidates are well prepared for their assessments. However, recurrent
issues, as outlined below, continue to prevent some candidates reaching their full potential in the

Many candidates fail to apply the basic principles of examination technique and for some
candidates this means the difference between a pass and a referral.

In some instances, candidates do not attempt all the required questions or are failing to
provide complete answers. Candidates are advised to always attempt an answer to a
compulsory question, even when the mind goes blank. Applying basic health and safety
management principles can generate credit worthy points.

Some candidates fail to answer the question set and instead provide information that may be
relevant to the topic but is irrelevant to the question and cannot therefore be awarded marks.

Many candidates fail to apply the command words (also known as action verbs, eg describe,
outline, etc). Command words are the instructions that guide the candidate on the depth of
answer required. If, for instance, a question asks the candidate to describe something, then
few marks will be awarded to an answer that is an outline. Similarly the command word
identify requires more information than a list.

Some candidates fail to separate their answers into the different sub-sections of the
questions. These candidates could gain marks for the different sections if they clearly
indicated which part of the question they were answering (by using the numbering from the
question in their answer, for example). Structuring their answers to address the different parts
of the question can also help in logically drawing out the points to be made in response.

Candidates need to plan their time effectively. Some candidates fail to make good use of their
time and give excessive detail in some answers leaving insufficient time to address all of the

Candidates should also be aware that Examiners cannot award marks if handwriting is

Candidates should note that it is not necessary to start a new page in their answer booklet for
each section of a question.


Paper IGC2
Control of international workplace hazards
Question 1


The team leader in a warehouse is giving training to his team

about manual handling.
Identify SIX factors in relation to the load which he could include
in his talk AND, for EACH, give a practical example that could
be present in the warehouse.



The manager of the warehouse has recognised that the

environmental conditions are contributing to risks from the
manual handling of loads and has decided to make
Identify FOUR environmental conditions that the manager could
consider AND identify risk control measures which he could


Factors relating to the load which could be included in the team leaders talk include
its weight which might be too heavy for one individual to lift and carry; its bulk which
could be a large box or a number of items tied together; the temperature of the load
especially in relation to cold storage items such as frozen food; the difficulty in
gripping the load for example if it was a parcel wrapped in plastic or if no handles
were provided on a bulky package; a centre of gravity which might be off-set such as
the presence of a live animal in the load; a shifting centre of gravity which could occur
with sacks of granules or powders; loads containing hazardous contents such as
chemicals, toxic solids, and acids in bottles; and loads with sharp cutting edges such
as needles, glass and metal bands. Candidates did not seem to realise that it was
concerned solely with factors relating to the load with some basing their answers on
TILE (task, individual, load, environment) and discussing each of its components in
turn. Those who had not read the question with sufficient care or perhaps did not
appreciate what was required, described a safe method of lifting a load which was not
what was required.
For part (b), candidates were expected to identify environmental conditions such as
heat, which could be controlled by the provision of ventilation or air conditioning and
arranging for the work to be carried out during the cooler periods of the day; cold,
which might be alleviated by the provision of heating and warm clothing and gloves;
noise, which could be controlled by the provision of acoustic barriers or the wearing of
personal protective clothing such as ear defenders or ear plugs; uneven slippery
surfaces which could be dealt with by weather proofing the building, the use of
absorbent mats and the introduction of procedures for dealing with spillages;
inadequate lighting suggesting the introduction of additional artificial lighting; and lack
of space which would point to the need to re-organise the warehouse to provide
additional clear areas. The quality of response provided for this part of the question
was again poor. Conditions such as rough seas, earthquakes and the weather in
general were suggested ignoring the fact that the scenario involved was a warehouse.
Examiners were concerned at the apparent lack of attention given by candidates to
the wording of the question.


Question 2

Identify FOUR types of ignition source that may lead to a fire in the
workplace AND identify a control measure for EACH.


Possible sources of ignition that could have been identified included: electricity, where
control measures that could be introduced include inspection, testing, regular
maintenance, earthing, bonding and the fitting of the correct fuses into equipment;
chemical sources which can be countered by correct storage procedures and a good
standard of housekeeping; hot work such as welding or cutting where control
measures include the use of a permit to work system, separation of the work and the
provision of a fire watch; overheating of machinery caused by friction which may be
controlled by regular maintenance and lubrication; hot surfaces such as those on
cooking or heating appliances where separation would be necessary between the
equipment and its fuel source and discarded smoking materials which can be
controlled by introducing a smoking ban in the workplace and providing a separate
smoking area.
With many candidates, the quality of answer provided was just sufficient to obtain a
pass standard but others were only able to offer sources of ignition such as hot work
and smoking. A number of candidates again appeared to have misread the question
and discussed types of fuel rather than ignition sources. There were the occasional
references to convection, conduction and radiation, to fire spread and the use of
extinguishers and to the classification of fires, none of which were relevant and worthy
of marks.
Question 3

Outline control measures that could be used to reduce the risk from the
use of electrical equipment in a workplace.


Answers could have included reference to control measures such as visual

inspections for damage to cables, plugs and sockets; the need to ensure that all
fuses are of the correct rating; the use of double insulated or battery operated
equipment, or equipment connected to a reduced voltage system or a residual current
device; ensuring that means of isolation are provided and that equipment is switched
off after use; checking that equipment is sited such that outlets are not overloaded,
cables are not in vulnerable positions and extension cables are fully uncoiled;
checking the equipment to ensure its suitability and conformity with recognised
standards, for example CE or BS marking; and introducing a specific testing
procedure for portable appliances together with a procedure for reporting defects or
Answers to this question were generally to a reasonable standard, though some
candidates wrote about the hazards arising from the use of electrical equipment.
Examiners again strongly recommend that the attention of candidates should be
drawn to the General Comments at the beginning of this Report and particularly to the
section on Common Pitfalls.


Question 4



Identify TWO possible health effects caused by exposure to



Identify THREE types of product that contain asbestos AND, for

EACH, give an example of where these can be found in the


In answer to part (a) of the question, candidates could have identified health effects
such as asbestosis; lung cancer; mesothelioma or cancer of the lining of the chest
and/or abdomen; and cancer of the stomach, intestines or rectum. Answers to this
part of the question were to a reasonable standard though some candidates lost
marks by identifying cancer without giving any further indication of its potential
For part (b), candidates could have identified products such as building materials for
example cement sheets, drainpipes, gutters and roof tiles; thermal insulation such as
sprayed coatings and laggings; plastics such as asbestos floor tiles; friction products
such as gaskets and brake pads; adhesives and sealants such as putty, resins, tile
adhesives and mastic; decorative products such as textured coatings or decorative
plasters; and mill board or asbestos rope used for fire proofing.
Answers to this part of the question were disappointing, and although many
candidates mentioned the three types of asbestos with others producing a list of
building materials, the majority were unable to proceed further and Examiners were
left with the impression that they were not well briefed on the subject of asbestos.

Question 5

Outline precautions to be taken when repair work is to be carried out on

the sloping roof of a building.


Initially an assessment should be made to gauge the condition of the roof and to
check for the presence of fragile materials. It would then be necessary to provide safe
means of access, normally by the erection of a scaffold; to use roof ladders or
crawling boards; to erect edge protection with guard rails and toe boards to prevent
the fall of persons and materials and either to provide barriers and signage around
areas on the roof containing fragile materials or to cover them to prevent persons
falling through. Other precautions would include provision for transporting tools and
materials to the roof and the removal of waste; the use of appropriate personal
protective equipment such as hard hats and footwear; the employment of competent
personnel together with a high level of supervision; and the erection of signs and/or
barriers to prevent members of the public from passing beneath the work area.
In general, answers to this question were to a reasonable standard. If there was a
weakness it was that some candidates provided a list of precautions rather than the
required outline alluding, for example, to the prevention of falls without specifying how
this might be achieved.


Question 6

Identify the main hazards associated with excavation work on

construction sites.


In answer to this question, candidates were expected to identify the main hazards
associated with excavation work such as the unstable nature of the sides of the
excavation; contact with buried services such as electricity or gas; ingress of water;
build-up of fumes and lack of oxygen; the dangers associated with excavation
machinery such as contact with overhead lines or being struck by the machines; the
effect of the excavation work on adjacent structures causing them to collapse; the
failure to provide protection for the edges of excavations; the restrictions on access
and egress; biological hazards such as leptospirosis; coming into contact with
contaminated land and even the possible presence of an unexploded bomb.
While answers to this question were generally satisfactory, a few candidates
discussed control measures rather than hazards, perhaps a further example of paying
insufficient attention to the wording. There was too, a suggestion that some were
confused between a hazard and a risk, suggesting the hazard of people or vehicles
falling into the excavation which is the risk which could arise from the hazard of the
absence of edge protection for the excavation.

Question 7

A display screen equipment (DSE) workstation user has complained of

neck and back pain.
Identify features associated with the workstation that might have
contributed towards this condition.


Features associated with the workstation which might have contributed towards the
users condition include the position of the screen at an incorrect height which would
cause repeated head movements; the incorrect position of the keyboard; the incorrect
height of the chair because of a lack of adjustability and the incorrect adjustment of
the backrest; the monitor set at too great an angle for the keyboard which would again
force movement of the head; glare and reflections on the screen which would drive
the user to adopt awkward postures; the pointing device such as the mouse in a nonoptimal position; the lack of or the incorrect siting of the document holder; the location
of the workstation as far as lighting and draughts were concerned; and materials
stored round the workstation which would restrict space and affect the users posture.
It was to be expected that most candidates would have used a DSE workstation on
occasions and so a logical approach, dealing with each item of the workstation in turn
should have provided enough information to answer the question. However many
concentrated only on the chair whilst others referred to long working hours without
breaks, lack of sleep and a failure to provide training, features which were not directly
associated with the workstation.


Question 8

Outline issues that should be considered by an organisation when

developing a system for the safe collection and disposal of its waste.


In answering this question, candidates were expected to outline issues such as: the
identification of waste by its hazardous properties for example general, biological or
special and by its nature, for example solid or liquid; the quantity produced and the
frequency of removal; the need for separation of incompatible and recyclable wastes;
the means for containing waste such as sharps boxes and bags and its marking and
labelling; the provision of safe storage on site and the methods of transportation to
and from the storage facility; the means for processing waste such as by crushing,
compacting or incinerating; the appointment of a competent and/or licensed waste
contractor; the keeping of necessary records; the possibility of pollution issues arising
from spillages; the competence and training of staff and the issue and use of suitable
personal protective equipment such as overalls and gloves.
Most candidates struggled with this question which proved to be the least popular on
the paper and which was avoided by many. Those who did attempt it generally
showed little knowledge of the safe collection and disposal of waste and were able to
refer only to the different types of waste, storage on site and fire issues.

Question 9

Outline factors to consider when carrying out a fire risk assessment of a



A good answer to this question would initially have referred to the statutory
requirements and then gone on to identify structural, physical and procedural factors
in turn.
In the first case the fire resistance of the structure would need to be confirmed and
consideration given to the fire protection and prevention measures taken, the escape
routes and exits bearing in mind the travel distances involved and also to the provision
of emergency lighting.
As for physical factors, these would include matters such as the identification of
possible ignition sources; the quantities of flammable and combustible materials used
or stored in the workplace; and the size of the building and number of people to be
evacuated including particular groups at risk such as the disabled and visitors.
In identifying procedural factors, candidates could have referred to the means of
raising the alarm and the positioning and audibility of the alarms provided; the means
of making contact with the emergency services; the adequacy and positioning of fire
fighting equipment and its accessibility; the procedures for the maintenance of
equipment, alarms and detection systems; the adequacy of emergency signs; the
positioning of a fire assembly point; and the training of personnel in evacuation
procedures including those with special responsibilities such as fire marshals.
On the whole, this question was well answered though a small number of candidates
restricted their answers to escape routes only and did not consider other issues such
flammables, ignition sources and procedures that should be put in place.


Question 10

A portable electric sander is being used in the production area of a


Identify hazards that may be present.



Outline precautions that could be taken to reduce the risk.


Hazards associated with the use of the sander include entanglement with the rotating
and abrasive parts of the machine; being struck by ejected material; those arising
from the use of electricity; exposure to dust, noise and vibration; and ergonomic
issues related either to the design of the equipment or to the way in which the work is
carried out. This part of the question seemed to present few problems though some
candidates did not identify the potential ergonomic hazards.
For part (b), control measures that should be taken to reduce the risks include the
introduction of procedures for the regular mechanical and electrical testing of the
equipment; ensuring that a fuse of the correct rating is fitted to the sander and that it
is connected either to a residual current device or to a reduced voltage system whilst
in use; the necessity to carry out pre-use checks of the equipment; the provision and
use of personal protective equipment such as eye and hearing protection; ensuring
that operators do not wear items of loose clothing which might become entangled in
the machine; the installation of local exhaust ventilation; introducing job rotation and
ensuring that operators are trained to use the appliance in a way that will minimise the
risk of fatigue and discomfort.
Answers were again to a reasonable standard though there was only the occasional
reference to the clothing that operators should wear and to organisational precautions
that should be taken to counter the possible environmental risks.

Question 11


Identify FOUR hazards that can cause slips or trips.



Identify control measures that can be used to reduce the risk of

slips or trips.


There are many reasons why people slip or trip including the floor being poorly
maintained or conversely highly polished; changes in level caused by ramps, slopes
or kerbs; slippery surfaces caused by oil, water or chemical spillages; dusty surfaces
such as those with a covering of sand; general obstructions in walkways such as
trailing cables, pipes and air hoses; mats and rugs; damaged flooring such as torn
carpets and linoleum; the presence of ice and snow and the wearing of inappropriate
footwear. Answers to this part of the question were generally to an acceptable
Control measures that might be used to reduce the risk of slips or trips include the
initial design and layout of the workplace with designated walkways and non-slip
floors; a system of maintenance which ensures the prompt repair of floor defects such
as holes and bumps; procedures for avoiding and dealing with spillages; the
provision of adequate lighting and highlight strips to warn of a difference in levels; the
provision of hand rails and edge protection on stairways; the replacement of damaged
or worn carpet, linoleum and tiles; a good standard of housekeeping including the
proper management of cables and hoses; procedures for reporting defects and the
wearing of appropriate footwear. Answers normally referred to many of the above
control measures though candidates should avoid using phrases such as proper


lighting and proper housekeeping which have little meaning and are not worthy of a



The National Examination

Board in Occupational
Safety and Health
Dominus Way
Meridian Business Park
Leicester LE19 1QW
telephone +44 (0)116 2634700
fax +44 (0)116 2824000

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