You are on page 1of 11

March 2013

Examiners’ Report
NEBOSH National
General Certifcate in
Occupational Health
and Safety (NGC1)


 2013 NEBOSH, Dominus Way, Meridian Business Park, Leicester LE19 1QW
tel: 0116 263 4700 fax: 0116 282 4000 email: info@nebosh.org.uk website: www.nebosh.org.uk

The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health is a registered charity, number 1010444

EXTERNAL

Examiners’ Report

NEBOSH NATIONAL GENERAL CERTIFICATE
IN OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY


UNIT NGC1:
MANAGEMENT OF HEALTH AND SAFETY


MARCH 2013



For: NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety
NEBOSH National Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management
NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety



CONTENTS



Introduction 2



General comments 3



Comments on individual questions 4










2 EXTERNAL
Introduction




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 around 35,000 candidates annually and are offered
by over 500 course providers, with exams taken in over 100 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 to be recognised and regulated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority
(SQA).

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. 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.

© NEBOSH 2013


Any enquiries about this report publication should be addressed to:

NEBOSH
Dominus Way
Meridian Business Park
Leicester
LE19 1QW

tel: 0116 263 4700
fax: 0116 282 4000
email: info@nebosh.org.uk


3 EXTERNAL
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.

Candidates should therefore note that Examiners‟ Reports are not written to provide „sample answers‟
but to give examples of what Examiners were expecting and more specifically to highlight areas of
under performance.

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
assessment.

 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
questions.

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

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


4 EXTERNAL






Question 1 An organisation has identified that a lack of training and relying entirely
on a noticeboard to provide information has contributed to an increase in
workplace accidents.

(a) Outline why a noticeboard could be an ineffective means of
providing information. (4)

(b) Explain how effective health and safety training can improve
human reliability. (4)

(c) Identify ways that health and safety training can be evaluated. (4)

(d) Outline the circumstances that might require an employee to
undertake additional health and safety training. (8)



This question related to Element 3 of the syllabus and assessed candidates‟
knowledge of learning outcomes 3.3: Outline the human factors which influence
behaviour at work in a way that can affect health and safety and 3.4: Explain how
health and safety behaviour at work can be improved.

Part (a) produced a reasonable response with the majority of candidates raising
issues relating to the location of the noticeboard and the information that was posted
on it. Far fewer candidates appreciated that there is no immediate confirmation by the
employer that the information has been received or understood.

A number of candidates failed to thoroughly read the question. Some answered based
on what makes a noticeboard an effective means of communication rather than why it
could be an ineffective means, whilst others outlined the reasons why a noticeboard is
required. Consequently Examiners were unable to award marks.

For part (b) many candidates were able to raise issues such as increased knowledge
or learning new skills can be outcomes of effective training but failed to make the link
and explain how these issues can improve human reliability. Good answers delved
deeper into human factors and covered, for example, improvements in perception and
positive changes in behaviour.

For part (c) the obvious ways of evaluating training is via examination or test of
knowledge or skills and the majority of candidates took this approach. Fewer
candidates however appreciated that evaluation of health and safety training can be
achieved at an organisational level by monitoring safety performance such as
changes in accident rates or by surveys of health and safety culture.

Most candidates understood the circumstances that might require additional training in
part (d) and performed well. Some candidates restricted their marks by insisting that
refresher training was additional to the employee‟s needs and not a normal part of
their job whilst others thought that new starter induction was additional training.
Neither approach gained marks. A number of candidates did not give sufficient depth
to the points that were raised. For example, simply stating that an accident was a
circumstance that might require an employee to undertake additional training does not
address the fact that it is the subsequent investigation that might require the additional
training.


Unit NGC1
Management of health and safety

5 EXTERNAL


Question 2 (a) Identify the two types of enforcement notice that may be served by an
inspector AND the conditions that must be satisfied before EACH type of
notice is served. (4)

(b) Outline FOUR powers available to an inspector when investigating a
workplace accident other than the serving of enforcement notices. (4)



This question related to Element 1 of the syllabus and assessed candidates‟
knowledge of learning outcome 1.3: Explain the legal framework for the regulation of
health and safety including sources and types of law.

For part (a) most candidates were able to identify improvement and prohibition as
being the two types of enforcement notice that may be served by an inspector.
However, fewer candidates were then able to go on and give the conditions that must
be satisfied before each type of notice is served. In some cases the conditions given
were vague, for example, in the case of an improvement notice some candidates
stated a “breach of law” rather than a breach of statutory duty. In the case of a
prohibition notice, instead of identifying where there is risk of serious personal injury
as being relevant, statements such as “where there is a hazard” or “where there is
serious risk” were made.

Part (b) was well understood and attempted by the majority of candidates although,
here again some answers were characterised by inaccurate statements. Many
candidates knew that the inspector has a right of entry to premises but failed to
address that this was entry at a reasonable time. Also, a number of candidates
referred to an inspector requiring statements or being able to interview people
whereas the requirement is for the person to answer questions and sign a declaration
of the truth.





Question 3 Outline factors to be taken into account when carrying out a risk
assessment for young persons who are to be employed in the workplace. (8)


This question related to Element 4 of the syllabus and assessed candidates‟
knowledge of learning outcome 4.2: Explain the principles and practice of risk
assessment.

This question was generally well understood and answered. However, a number of
candidates failed to pick up on the fact that this was a question concerning factors to
consider when carrying out a risk assessment for young persons and not simply a
question on the risk assessment process. As a result some candidates missed the
context and incorrectly outlined the 5 steps to risk assessment approach which gained
no marks. Some candidates wasted time by including discussion of other special case
applications eg disabled workers.

Candidates who did well were able to address the particular hazards that are
significant in the context of young persons and the human factors issues that were
relevant.







6 EXTERNAL

Question 4 (a) Give the meaning of the term „health and safety audit‟. (2)

(b) Outline the general characteristics of an effective health and
safety auditing system. (6)


This question related to Element 5 of the syllabus and assessed candidates‟
knowledge of learning outcome 5.2: Explain the purpose of, and procedures, for
health and safety auditing.

The topic of health and safety auditing proved to be the least well understood of the
questions set.

For part (a), a text book definition of the term health and safety audit was not required,
however, many candidates were unable to put together sufficient detail to gain the two
marks available. Some went into detail of how to conduct an audit and gained few
marks.

Part (b) also proved problematic with some candidates answering the question that
they would like to see rather than the question that was set. Some candidates outlined
how to conduct an audit whilst others answered based upon what should be examined
during an audit. A few candidates gave good descriptions of the characteristics of an
effective safety management system or safety policy which gained few or no marks.

Based on the responses to the question, it is clear that this topic causes confusion,
with some candidates unable to distinguish between the characteristics of an audit
and an inspection.

An audit has a documented methodology which can be used to highlight current
performance/trends against pre-set targets. It utilises a variety of sources of
information and makes recommendations which may drive improvements.


Question 5 Various sources of information may be consulted when developing a safe
system of work.

(a) Identify FOUR internal sources of information. (4)

(b) Identify FOUR external sources of information. (4)



This question related to Element 4 of the syllabus and assessed candidates‟
knowledge of learning outcome 4.4: Identify the key sources of health and safety
information.

This was, without doubt, a popular question and generally produced a good response
from candidates, demonstrating their knowledge of both internal and external sources.
Some candidates gave sources of information but failed to gain marks because they
would not be relevant sources when developing a safe system of work. Others lost
marks by incorrectly categorising the sources.

For part (a), very few candidates appreciated that the construction design and
management (CDM), health and safety file and medical surveillance records/absence
records were relevant. A common error was to assume that a manufacturers safety
data sheet is an internal source, presumably because these can be found in the
workplace.

For part (b), better answers recognised industry standards and the organisation‟s
insurance company as relevant sources. Those who simply stated “the internet” as a
source gained no marks.

7 EXTERNAL

Question 6 (a) Outline the purpose AND general content of the THREE main
sections of a health and safety policy. (6)

(b) Explain why the health and safety policy should be signed by the
most senior person in an organisation, such as a Managing
Director or Chief Executive. (2)



This question related to Elements 2 and 3 of the syllabus and assessed candidates‟
knowledge of learning outcomes 2.3: Describe the key features and appropriate
content of an effective health and safety policy and 3.1: Outline the organisational
health and safety roles and responsibilities of employers, directors and managers.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Section 2(3), requires that employers
prepare and review a statement of health and safety policy together with the
necessary organisation and arrangements to implement the policy.

For part (a) the majority of candidates were able to name and outline the purpose of
the three main sections of the policy. Most candidates knew the content of the
statement of intent and the organisation sections but, some candidates were unable to
go on and outline the content of the arrangements section. This section contains the
systems and procedures which should be in place to ensure that the policy is
implemented.

For part (b) most candidates were able to gain at least one mark of the two available
by explaining that it is signed so that commitment is demonstrated from the top. The
least popular reason given was that signing the policy gave it authority.

On rare occasions candidates became confused between the requirements of the Act
and the guidance on safety management systems laid out in Successful Health and
Safety Management (HSG65). Consequently, those who took this route gained few
marks.


Question 7 An employee slipped and fell from the working platform of scaffolding
erected outdoors.

(a) Identify TWO reasons why it is important to determine the
causes of the accident. (2)

(b) Outline the possible immediate and root causes of the accident. (6)



This question related to Element 5 of the syllabus and assessed candidates‟
knowledge of learning outcome 5.3: Explain the purpose of, and procedures for,
investigating incidents (accidents, cases of work-related ill-health and other
occurrences).

Most candidates were able to gain the maximum of two marks for part (a) by referring
to preventing a recurrence and identifying legal issues in the form of civil claims. Very
few candidates were able to go deeper and identify such issues as the uncovering of
management systems failures.

The majority of candidates easily identified and outlined a wide range of immediate
and root causes of the accident illustrated in the question. Generally, candidates read
the question carefully and answered within the context of the scenario as set. Whilst
there was some confusion between what constituted an immediate and a root cause,
it was not a requirement to differentiate between the two on this occasion. Also,

8 EXTERNAL
equipment based causes were more frequently addressed than organisational or
human factors type causes.



Question 8 Outline FOUR types of work activity that might require a permit-to-work
AND give a reason in EACH case for the requirement. (8)


This question related to Element 4 of the syllabus and assessed candidates‟
knowledge of learning outcomes 4.5: Explain what factors should be considered when
developing and implementing a safe system of work for general activities and 4.6:
Explain the role and function of a permit-to-work system.

Overall this question was well answered with the majority of candidates able to
provide examples of a variety of work activity that might require a permit-to-work.
However, those who simply cited „electrical work‟ as a type of work activity, failed to
gain marks unless they were more specific about the activity eg working on live
electrical equipment or for high voltage electrical work.

Additionally, some candidates give unclear responses concerning the reasons for the
requirement.

With regards to the reason for each requirement, many candidates gave vague
statements relating to the degree of risk/danger from the activities but failed to provide
a specific reason. For example, whilst working at height is undoubtedly dangerous a
key reason for the use of a permit-to-work is to provide a fall arrest strategy.


Question 9 (a) Identify TWO criminal courts. (2)

(b) Outline the role of the criminal courts with regard to health and
safety matters. (4)

(c) Identify TWO possible defences that an employer may use in a
criminal case. (2)



This question related to Element 1 of the syllabus and assessed candidates‟
knowledge of learning outcome 1.3: Explain the legal framework for the regulation of
health and safety including sources and types of law.

Part (a) presented little difficulty and most candidates were able to identify two
criminal courts. Some either misread the question, or did not know, and incorrectly
give examples of civil courts.

Many candidates were able to gain some marks for part (b) by reference to the
imposition of fines/prison sentences and hearing cases based on breaches of statute
law. However, few candidates were able to go beyond this and hence some answers
lacked depth.

Performance in part (c) of the question was particularly limited with many candidates
failing to gain any marks. Those who realised that some defences were based on the
legal duties were awarded marks. For example, one defence might be that they could
prove that the „best practicable means‟ were in fact used. Those candidates who
identified civil defences failed to gain marks.

Many candidates were obviously better schooled in civil law issues than criminal law.
Candidates and course tutors should ensure that criminal law is studied to an
appropriate breadth and depth.



9 EXTERNAL

Question 10 (a) Outline the benefits of using a checklist when carrying out a
workplace health and safety inspection. (4)

(b) Identify the main features of a workplace health and safety
inspection other than checklists. (4)



This question related to Element 5 of the syllabus and assessed candidates‟
knowledge of learning outcome 5.1: Outline the principles, purpose and role of active
and reactive monitoring.

For part (a), those who proceeded to outline the benefits of a workplace health and
safety inspection rather than the benefits of using an inspection checklist, generally
gained very few marks. Also, there were those who either misread or did not
understand the question and either, outlined what an inspection was, or what should
be inspected.

It is concerning that a number candidates believe that it is a benefit that any/unskilled
members of staff could use the checklist to conduct an inspection.

For part (b) many candidates either misread or missed the point of the question and
listed what should be inspected rather than the main features of a workplace
inspection. This, when coupled with the fact that a number of candidates did not
attempt this part of the question meant that the average mark for this part was low.

A health and safety inspection can be a legal requirement and one of the main
features is that it identifies hazards and then seeks remedial actions.

It is worth noting that the two questions concerning monitoring were the two lowest
scoring questions on this paper. Candidates and course tutors would be well advised
to ensure that Element 5 is covered with adequate breadth and depth.


Question 11 Outline the skills and knowledge that are required of a trained risk
assessor to carry out risk assessments. (8)

This question related to Element 4 of the syllabus and assessed candidates‟
knowledge of learning outcome 4.2: Explain the principles and practice of risk
assessment.

Overall, answers to this question were limited with a number of candidates failing to
thoroughly read and understand what the question was asking. This is substantiated
by the number of candidates who started their answer by stating that a risk assessor
should be trained and competent with some then proceeding to explain, generally,
what makes a person competent. Others outlined how a risk assessment should be
conducted or what should be covered during the training of a risk assessor.

Risk assessors should, at least, have knowledge of the hazards and risks presented
by the workplace or process and have the ability to prioritise actions based on their
findings.



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
email info@nebosh.org.uk
www.nebosh.org.uk