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The NEBOSH General Certificate for Managers

Management and Health & Safety


The management of an organisation plays a critical part in the creation and adoption of a suitable health and safety culture within the company. The importance that managers at all levels have in health and safety is shown by the amount of attention given to it in health and safety courses including the NEBOSH General Certificate and, unsurprisingly as the names suggest, the IOSH Managing Safely and construction site management SMSTS courses.

Workers will expect to be told what to do by managers, or at the very least be given a broad outline of what is expected of them. If health and safety is not part of this instruction, then many workers will simply not give it much thought. Obviously they will be aware of things like using fire extinguishers to tackle small fires and to evacuate the building if they are in danger, but are highly unlikely to take it upon themselves to organise things such as fire sweeps or procedures for the safe disposal of hazardous waste. This is where managers earn their money, by actually taking responsibility and managing issues, including the organisation of and instructing employees in health and safety actions and provisions.

Not only do the managers of an organisation need to devise, organise and communicate health and safety procedures to employees, but it is important that they are actively seen to be committed to the implication of a health and safety culture within their business. They can do this in a variety of ways including allocating sufficient resources (time, money etc) to health and safety issues, appearing at shop floor health and safety meetings where the concerns of workers are discussed, doing things themselves that they would expect of others such as wearing protective headgear and high-visibility clothing in areas where this is required, taking part in fire drills rather than staying put in their office because they know it is just a drill, quickly acting on information regarding safety deficiencies by taking speedy remedial action, and many more.

The NEBOSH General Certificate

One of the Best Health and Safety Courses for Managers

Along with the IOSH Managing Safely course, the most popular of health and safety training courses for managers to attend is the NEBOSH General Certificate. This accredited qualification will provide a manager with a tremendous amount of information regarding many different areas of health and safety and the most common hazards which can normally be found in a typical place of work. Not only is this qualification highly beneficial for workers to have, but will also prove extremely valuable for managers and directors who will acquire a far more comprehensive understanding of the potential dangers and risks which their staff members face at work.

Why Health and Safety Knowledge is Required by Managers

Armed with this knowledge, they will be in a much better position to create, implement and promote a safe working environment and suitable health and safety culture within the business, as it is hard to introduce and encourage something when a person knows little about it. Understanding the activities of employees and in particular the hazards and dangers which they face is a crucial first step in addressing those issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate for Changing Attitudes Towards Safety

Another key aspect for the success or failure of a health and safety culture and working practices within a business comes from employee's perceptions of the attitudes and actions of management. If they are seen not to take health and safety too seriously then they themselves will also believe that they do not need to bother with it too much. By attending NEBOSH General Certificate training and letting employees know about it, it will give off a positive impression that managers really do take health and safety matters seriously which will encourage workers to do likewise.

Health and Safety Training is Important for Everyone

There can be a perception that health and safety training is something which workers should receive but is not necessary for managers. However, as the above paragraphs show, it is just as important for managers so that they are aware of what needs to be done to prevent accidents in the workplace. Also, managers and directors have a legal responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of their employees, which means that they need to know current legislation and how it affects their businesses and its activities. It may be the case then that as well as getting up to speed with relevant legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act, managers may also benefit after attending a NEBOSH General Certificate course from training which concentrates on a specific hazard area such as COSHH training (hazardous substances), accident investigation training and fire training to name just a few examples.

Ultimately, managers are responsible for introducing the suitable measures to keep their workforce safe whilst they are on the premises or conducting work on behalf of the company. Not only will they need to actively promote a health and safety culture within the company, but they themselves also need to be well-trained in health and safety matters in order for them to understand their legal obligations, and to have a much more insightful awareness of the risks which are present, and as a consequence the effective remedies which can be taken to minimise or eliminate the danger to people or the environment.

Management Responsibilities for Health and Safety

The organisation of health and safety and the responsibilities of those in charge within a place of work such as directors and managers is covered in the syllabus of NEBOSH General Certificate courses and aims to teach course delegates how everybody at all levels of an organisation has a responsibility towards health and safety at work. However it is those at the management level who have the greatest obligation for the provision of health and safety controls and procedures in the workplace.

Health and Safety Starts at the Top with Managers

Just as managers are responsible for control measures and the direction of the company in other areas such as cost controls, health and safety needs to start at the top where those in a senior position are proactive in their tackling of issues to prevent injury and accidents to their employees. The culture of the organisation and the working practices of the employees are largely influenced by the actions of those at the top. So, for example, if those at the top of the management hierarchy cut corners and turn a blind eye to breaches of safety regulations then workers will perceive this as acceptable and take risks whilst performing their workplace duties. This greatly increases the chances of an accident occurring.

How can the NEBOSH General Certificate Qualification Help Managers?

The NEBOSH General Certificate conveys the importance and necessity of management's role in health and safety at their company. As well as being a legal requirement in many countries including the UK, it is also in the company's best interests to create and maintain a safe and healthy working environment in terms of the financial benefits they will gain. Not only will the company not be at risk of having to pay a fine for failing to comply with applicable safety legislation if they do things as they should, but they will also reduce the likelihood of having to deal with staff being absent from work through ill health, not to mention the risk of being sued by those made ill or suffering an injury.

How Does the NEBOSH General Certificate Help Managers Comply with Legislation?

The NEBOSH General Certificate will allow managers and directors of companies to comply with their responsibilities as detailed in applicable legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act. It is up to management to introduce suitable control measures and systems of working to prevent people becoming ill, injured or killed in the workplace or as a result of their workplace activities as far as is reasonably practical. Particularly since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act and changes in the attitude of society, there is now much more of a focus on prevention rather than dealing with the aftermath of an accident or incident.

These control measures should be communicated to employees so they are aware of their existence, as well as providing them with suitable training not only in specifics such as how to operate a piece of equipment properly, but also general health and safety training to enable them to work safely and avoid potential hazards and dangers to their safety and that of others.

The health and safety culture of a business needs to start at the top, with senior managers or directors needing to oversee policy and making sure that they successfully delegate responsibilities and the importance of health and safety to line managers, to ensure that the necessity for health and safety procedures to be followed filters through to every employee. Managers must impress upon workers that health and safety is to be given just as much weight if not more so than other considerations, e.g. don't sacrifice safety to make a higher profit margin or increase productivity.

All health and safety training courses for managers such as the NEBOSH General Certificate, IOSH Managing Safely, Site Management SMSTS and Site Supervisors SSSTS courses will impress upon the manager how important they are in the adoption of good heath and safety practices by their workers.

NEBOSH General Certificate Articles

Please see below for some articles related to the NEBOSH General Certificate qualification which you may be interested in:

Articles related to the NEBOSH General Certificate course

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