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The NEBOSH General Certificate Highlights Responsibilities


When it comes to health and safety in the workplace, many people will think that managers have all of the responsibility for keeping everyone safe from coming to harm through an accident, injury or occupational injury. Whilst it is true that managers do have a great deal of responsibility and legal requirements for creating a safe place of work, employees themselves also have an obligation to take certain steps. The responsibilities of both parties with regards to safety and health is highlighted in the syllabus of the NEBOSH General Certificate health and safety course.

Employer's Duties for Health and Safety in the Workplace

Employers and managers of a company have a legal and moral obligation to minimise the potential for anybody affected by the operations of the company coming to harm, such as being injured or suffering an illness e.g. from breathing in a hazardous substance (Related Article: COSHH Training or NEBOSH General Certificate?).

Some of these responsibilities include:

  • Arranging and providing suitable health and safety training which is regularly refreshed and takes into consideration any changes to the workplace or processes since the attendees last undertook the training.
  • Conduct appropriate and detailed risk assessments.
  • Devise suitable emergency procedures and ensure that these are communicated to all employees and visitors. Those who have particular duties during an emergency situation such as fire marshals will need to fully understand what is required of them, which may include regular practice drills and exercises.
  • Make employees aware of the need for a comprehensive health and safety culture within the business, emphasising the need to stay safe and avoid cutting corners or taking risks, especially when deadlines are looming and tasks need to be finished by a certain time.
  • Put in place monitoring and surveillance systems to detect health problems which may be developing with individuals. This is particularly important with mental health issues including stress that can be hard to detect but could have a significant effect upon the behaviour and actions of the person.
  • Keeping up to date with any applicable changes in health and safety legislation. These changes will then need to be implemented and communication to employees, which may involve additional health and safety training being provided, and will require both planning and organisation.

Duties of Employee's and Workers

The above points are just some of the responsibilities that managers and business owners have regarding health and safety. Whilst this involves a significant number of factors and they are the main proponents of health and safety in the workplace, employees and workers also have a significant role to play in maintaining a safe place of work for themselves and their fellow colleagues.

Some of the duties and expectations of employees include:

  • Carrying out tasks, using equipment, handling substances etc. in accordance with the training they have received
  • Reporting to management any broken or defective protective equipment or machinery which may be a danger to someone either now or in the near future if it were to deteriorate further.
  • Proactively taking steps to prevent hazards, such as shutting down a machine which poses an immediate danger without waiting for permission or spending time finding and speaking to the manager (somebody else could come along and use the machine whilst they have left it unattended).
  • Reporting any weaknesses or shortcomings in current health and safety arrangements and procedures to managers, rather then explicitly following only those instructions which they have been given.

The NEBOSH General Certificate Will Benefit Both Managers and Employees

The comprehensive nature of the NEBOSH General Certificate qualification means that it is suitable to be taken by both employees and managers alike, and will provide both parties with a great deal of useful information regarding creating and maintaining a healthy and safe workplace for everyone.

The syllabus will convey the responsibilities of both employers and employees when it comes to creating a safe workplace and minimising the probability of an accident or workplace illness down to a level as far as is reasonably practical.

Unlike higher-level qualifications such as the NEBOSH National Diploma which is a degree-level qualification that relies upon those studying to already have a certain level of health and safety knowledge, the NEBOSH General Certificate course is suitable for anyone. This includes those who have never had any health and safety training previously or experience in a health and safety job role.

Even so, there is still a lot of information taught on the course, some of which is quite complex and detailed like legislation and required processes/procedures. Some students who have had no prior training prefer to take a lower academic level course like an IOSH Working Safely or IOSH Managing Safely before enrolling on the NEBOSH General Certificate, but this is not strictly necessary as all of the information needed for the assessments will be taught by the tutor during the course (although there will still be a significant element of self-study and private reading required).

For more information on the NEBOSH General Certificate and other NEBOSH courses including the prestigious National Diploma qualification, please click on the "NEBOSH" option within the "Health & Safety" drop-down at the top of the page to visit the NEBOSH section of the website.

NEBOSH Courses

Please see below for some NEBOSH courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is the flagship NEBOSH qualification, and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals.

The NEBOSH National Diploma provides the core health and safety knowledge (transferable across industry, commerce and the public sector) which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an occupational health and safety practitioner.

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NEBOSH National Diploma in Environmental Management

The NEBOSH Environmental Diploma is intended for safety professionals and managers who are taking on environmental responsibilities. It is designed for individuals with responsibilities for the management of environmental risk in relation to the damage caused by work activities.

Holders of the NEBOSH Environmental Diploma will be able to advise their organisation on the environmental impacts of their activities, on their legal obligations and the means of continuously improving their environmental performance as part of an integrated management approach.

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NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular and widely-held health and safety qualifications in the UK. It is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who require an understanding of general health and safety issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK, along with the identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge. The general content of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus means it is suitable and relevant for those working in virtually any industry, and is often used as a solid foundation for those going on to further study and specialising in a particular area such as construction site health and safety or fire safety.

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NEBOSH National Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management

The NEBOSH Fire Certificate is aimed primarily at managers and supervisors who are responsible for fire safety within their organisation and compliance with applicable fire safety legislation.

The course aims to give delegates the knowledge to conduct and review fire risk assessments, along with fire prevention and protective measures within most workplaces.

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NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety

The NEBOSH Construction Certificate, or NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health & Safety to give it its full title, is one of the most recognised health and safety qualificatons in the construction industry.

It is aimed primarily at managers, supervisers, CDM co-ordinators and anyone else who is responsible for making sure that construction activities under their control are undertaken safely.

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NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management

The NEBOSH Environmental Certificate, or NEBOSH National Certificate in Environmental Management to give it its full title, is an environmental health and safety course which is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who are responsible for managing environmental issues at their workplace.

The NEBOSH Environmental Certificate qualification focuses on UK law, so is really only suitable for those who are based and operate within the UK.

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