Starting Your New Health and Safety Career
- 6th April 2016
- Posted by: Juan van Niekerk
- Category: Health and Safety
Deciding to start a health and safety career comes with a lot of responsibility as you will be taking charge of ensuring that the work environment of your fellow employees is safe to work in and that it is free of hazards to their health. Here we will discuss starting your new health and safety career and all that it will encompass.
Why is health and safety important?
Every workplace has it’s own dangers that can range from working with electrical equipment, working at heights, lifting heavy equipment to something as simple as ensuring the workplace is clean and considered favourable to employees’ health. Measures need to be put in place to ensure that they are managed and controlled according to the applicable legislation.
Not only does having effective health and safety measures in place create an environment where workers feel safe, allowing them to do their jobs without fear of injury or illness which reduces stress, but it saves the organisation a massive amount of time and cost concerning sick days taken and fines that may be issued if they are in breach of safety and health codes.
There is also the issue that professionals who already hold a certification in health and safety may see their knowledge become outdated and will feel the need to become certified in a more updated qualification ensuring their health and safety career remains relevant.
Your First NEBOSH Health and Safety Certification
Before starting your health and safety career, you will need to decide which certification you would like to study. This will depend on the field that you are looking to work in as there are many different NEBOSH courses available, depending on the industry for example:
Many students choose to start their health and safety career by undertaking an introductory health and safety training course aimed at entry level individuals, however, the NEBOSH General Certificate is considered a must-have certification and the perfect stating place for those in the health and safety industry as it covers essential topics including managerial duties, conducting satisfactory risk assessments and investigating health and safety risks.
What you will learn from the NEBOSH General Certificate
Once you have gained a general understanding of health and safety, it is a good idea to gain a broader knowledge of all it encompasses and what will be expected of you during your health and safety career. The NEBOSH General Certificate is a well-known and trusted certification that delivers a much broader understanding of keeping a workplace safe.
The NEBOSH General Certificate covers a broad spectrum of industries and will teach students the applicable legislation that needs to be enforced to ensure a workplace is, and remains safe. You will be taught to assess the workplace for health and safety issues, creating measures towards ensuring health and safety as well as their implementation.
During this course you will learn the following:
- Health and safety foundation
- Hazards and risk control
- Equipment hazards and control
- Electrical, fire, chemical, biological, physical and psychological hazards and control
The topics covered when studying this course are:
- Legal requirements for health and safety at work
- Implementation of health and safety managements systems
- Identification of workplace hazards
- Methods of hazard control
- Practical application of knowledge and understanding
It is a qualification that is considered to be essential for anyone undertaking a health and safety career and will see you qualify to undertake the NEBOSH General Diploma.
Exam Details for NEBOSH National General Certificate Qualification
Below is an outline of what you can expect when you have completed the NEBOSH General Certificate course and you feel that you are ready to sit the exam in order to gain your certification:
You will need to complete 3 exam units before gaining your official certification for the NEBOSH General Certificate, namely NGC1, GC2 & GC3. These can be written in March, June, September and December each year.
Written Exam Papers
For the written exam, there are two papers that need to be completed and passed. Each have a duration of 2 hours (4 hours in total). The questions contained in the exam are in the format of 1 long answer and 10 short answers.
Practical Exam Papers
You will also need to complete a practical exam paper before receiving your certification. This will require you to carry out an assessment of a workplace, identifying risks and hazards and the measures that can be taken to rectify them. You will then be required to write a short report on your findings.
Marking of NEBOSH exam papers
The core unit exam papers (NGC1 and GC2) that you have completed will be marked by NEBOSH approved examiners who will provide feedback on the two papers and they will also supply you with an overall grade. The minimum percentage needed to pass the NEBOSH National General Certificate written exam is 45 out of a possible 100 marks (45%).
The passing grade for the practical assessment paper will see you needing to achieve a minimum of 60 out of a possible 100 marks (60%).
Common Health and Safety Career Duties
A health and safety career comes with it’s own rewards in knowing that you are creating a safer environment where fellow employees can concentrate on their work, rather than having to worry about their safety and health.
The typical duties associated with a health and safety career are:
- Assessing the workplace and identifying areas where safety measures need to be put in place
- Ensuring that previously implemented safety measures are being adhered to (such as servicing of fire extinguishers according to date and updated evacuation plans)
- Proposing new health and safety measures for newly discovered hazards
- Implementing those new measures according to the applicable legislation
- Ensuring that all employees are properly informed and trained to adhere to these measures.
Your Health and safety career advice
Once you have gained your certification from NEBOSH, you will look to start your health and safety career in earnest. The following are examples of health and safety roles that you will be qualified to apply for having gained the NEBOSH National General Certificate:
- Safety Officer
- Health and Safety Advisor
- Site Representative
- Quality Health and Safety Trainer
- Safety and Risk Advisor
- Health and Safety Manager
- Site Manager
- Health and Safety Auditor
- Health and Safety Training Consultant
- Compliance Officer
A health and safety career can be very fulfilling and lucrative when you have gained a certification that is recognised and trusted. It has become commonplace for organisations to list a certification in health and safety as a prerequisite when interviewing candidates for a health and safety career within their company.
NEBOSH has established itself as a brand that is held in high regard among those that have undertaken a health and safety career and their respective organisations alike. NEBOSH certifications are considered to be the prevailing benchmark against which health and safety standards in the workplace are measured not only in the UK, but across the globe.
If you would like to learn more about NEBOSH and the certifications that are on offer in order to make an informed decision about your health and safety career, more information is available here.