At the end of 2016, I took the NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety. This had two objectives: developing my knowledge and understanding of workplace health and safety, and enhancing my bid writing capabilities through a more detailed understanding of the practical application of safe systems of work.
The course is made up of three separate modules, NGC1, NGC2 and NGC3, all focussing on the management of occupational health and safety. Each week-long session combined teaching, discussions and tests, delivered by experienced tutors, with as a bonus, free food and drink!
Week 1: NGC1 — Management of Health and Safety
In the first module, we covered the management of health and safety in the workplace, including its underlying principles, policies and procedures. The content included the moral, financial and legal reasons for effective management, a detailed explanation of the ‘plan, do, check, act’ cycle for continual improvement, and the general principles of risk assessment and management.
Week 2: NGC2 — Controlling Workplace Hazards and NGC3 – Health and Safety Practical Application
The second week of the course covered both modules 2 and 3. It dealt with the wide range of health and safety hazards that can happen in the workplace, and their respective risks and control measures. The variety of hazards ranged from common issues such as fire safety to more specialised areas, such as working in confined spaces.
At the end of the second week we received guidance on the NGC3 practical application, including how to answer each part correctly and provide a detailed, well-reasoned and persuasive report following a workplace assessment.
I took both my NGC1 and NGC2 exams on 7 December 2016, and submitted my NGC3 practical assessment the next week. The aim of the practical assessment is to apply the knowledge you have learned from the first two modules by completing a detailed report. The report required a discussion and assessment of a minimum of 20 workplace hazards and one positive finding, as well as suitable control measures and the legal, financial and moral benefits for the active management of occupational health and safety.
Last week, I received the good news that I had passed all three modules and earned the highest possible mark, a distinction.
The course was fascinating, and has given me a new insight into health and safety management, a prominent area of each tender that we write, including the detailed legislative framework underpinning health and safety management and the ways in which all employees can work collectively to maintain safe systems of work. I particularly enjoyed learning more about the specific hazards and risks relating to a manner of workplace activities. Not only can I apply what I learned to further enhance the quality of my writing, I can also share it with my colleagues to help them continually improve as well.
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