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  9. The NEBOSH General Certificate and Moral Health & Safety Responsibilities

The NEBOSH General Certificate and Moral Health & Safety Responsibilities


Aside from the legal obligations for providing health and safety training to workers and ensuring that any necessary protective equipment is provided and suitably maintained, many people will expect managers of a company to have a moral responsibility for safeguarding the health, safety and wellbeing of their employees. Of course there are exceptions, but many people will have a sense of not wanting to cause harm to their fellow humans, which is why many managers go above and beyond in terms or organising more training and greater safety controls than are required by law.

What will the NEBOSH General Certificate Course Cover?

The NEBOSH General Certificate will cover the foundations of health and safety, including discussing the moral, legal and financial reasons for providing health and safety training to staff members, not to mention creating and promoting a positive health and safety culture within the organisation. The NEBOSH General Certificate is suitable for managers and employees alike as it will provide everyone who attends and dedicates themselves to the learning with a detailed level of knowledge regarding health and safety matters and how to work in a manner which greatly reduces the probability of harm befalling themselves or others nearby.

Along with the moral reasons, it is also in management's interests to keep workers safe and free from harm. Not only will they avoid potential financial repercussions from fines that may be levied for particular health and safety breaches, but they can reduce costs which would be accrued because of one or more of the following:

1) Compensation claims from employees who are made ill or injured from their workplace activities when management has been negligent or all reasonably practical measures available were not put into place.

2) Workers who require time off because of occupational injury or illness will not only receive sick pay without contributing anything to the business whilst they are off work, but the company may need to recruit other people on a temporary basis to cover for them in order to maintain the same level of production or service levels. This means that the company will have to pay two salaries instead of one for all those who are off work and have to be temporarily replaced.

3) For those temporary workers who are brought in as cover, there will be recruitment costs involved for finding and hiring them, as well as a rise in training expenditure as they will all need to be trained up in how to do the job, along with health and safety training for themselves in order to stay safe in what will be for them an unfamiliar workplace.

4) Companies who get a reputation for being dangerous places to work can often find themselves subject to protests, negative publicity and even boycotts of their products or services. This can happen over a remarkably short period of time thanks to the rise of instant social media messaging. Some companies will even be at risk of having to close if their sales revenue is reduced by a large amount as a consequence.

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 here to visit the NEBOSH section of the website.

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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