Finally I have the NEBOSH IGC Qualification!
In December 2010, I signed up for the NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health – shortened as NEBOSH IGC. Classes for the 10-day course spread over the weekends began on January 22, 2011.
What is NEBOSH?
From the NEBOSH website:
NEBOSH (The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) was formed in 1979 as an independent examining board and awarding body with charitable status. We offer a comprehensive range of globally-recognised, vocationally-related qualifications designed to meet the health, safety, environmental and risk management needs of all places of work in both the private and public sectors.
NEBOSH programmes are accredited/recognised by:
- Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), UK;
- International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM), UK;
- Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), UK;
- Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual, previously QCA) in England;
- Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills (DCELLS) in Wales;
- Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) in Northern Ireland; and
- Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) in Scotland as Approved Awarding Body status.
NEBOSH examinations and assessments are set by its professionally qualified staff assisted by external examiners; most of whom are Chartered Safety and Health Practitioners operating within industry, the public sector or in enforcement.
Our technical standards are overseen by a Qualification and Technical Council with representatives drawn from national institutions.
In addition, NEBOSH maintains Investors in People (IIP) status and is also an ISO 9001:2008 registered organisation.
Joining me in January 2011 were:
- Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health holders
- Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health final year students
- Two Safety and Health Officers
- One Engineer
- Three Oil & Gas industry professionals
- One Scaffolding Inspector
- Several repeating/returning students
Traditionally, NEBOSH students are working professionals and semi-professionals. This is because NEBOSH aims to formalise their working experience. In theory, working professionals, especially those in the safety and health field, would find NEBOSH IGC a walk in the park.
Elements of the IGC
To qualify for the NEBOSH IGC, you need to undertake a 10-day training programme that encompasses 16 different modules. They are:
- Health and Safety Foundations
- Organising for Health and Safety
- Promoting a Positive Health and Safety Culture
- Risk Assessment
- Principles of Control
- Monitoring, Review and Audit
- Incident and Accident Investigation and Reporting
- Movement of People and Vehicles – Hazard and Control
- Manual and Mechanical Handling Hazards and Control
- Work Equipment Hazards and Control
- Electrical Hazards and Control
- Fire Hazards and Control
- Chemical and Biological Health Hazards and Control
- Physical and Psychological Health Hazards and Control
- Construction Activities – Hazards and Control
After completing the 16 elements, you will need to sit for three separate papers: IGC1, IGC2 and IGC 3.
- IGC1 tests your comprehension of the first 8 elements. Out of 100%, the passing score is 40%. It’s a subjective/essay test which aims to gauge your understanding of the basic OSH principles.
- IGC 2 tests your comprehension and application of elements 9 to 16. Just as IGC1, you need 40% to pass the paper. Like IGC1, IGC2 is also a written exam meant to test your theoretical comprehension of the applied OSH principles.
- IGC3 is a more practical exam. The first two papers are theoretical. This third paper is a practical exam. It tests your ability to apply the principles & knowledge you acquired in a real workplace. Here, the paper goes so far as to test your analytical skills. First, you will be taken to a worksite. You are asked to identify 20 hazards or non-compliance of OSH principles. In addition to that, you will be asked to identify where the workplace complies with this. You are given about 45 minutes to do this. Upon returning to the classroom, you are to transfer your findings to the worksheet provided by NEBOSH. In addition to that, you are to write a management report on your findings. The passing rate for IGC3 is 60%.
Note that the passing score of each IGC papers do not contribute or bring down the score(s) of the other papers. There’s is no “average score”. A pass is when you attain more than the passing mark for that paper.
Let’s say you obtained 55% for IGC1, 39% in IGC2 and 80% in IGC3. Where NEBOSH is concerned, you need to retake IGC2 because you failed to attain at least 40%.
NEBOSH IGC in Semester 3
From January 22 to March 13, I attended the NEBOSH IGC classes conducted on the Saturdays and Sundays. Initially the classes were from 2pm to 6pm. After the 2nd weekend, the timetable was stretched to 9pm.
This is because we had to cover 16 modules called “elements”. The topics covered ranged from the introduction of basic Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Management System to OSH policy drafting, all the way to construction safety and machine hazards and safety.
At the time, I was also in my 3rd Semester of the Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health programme. My classes in the diploma programme were already from Monday to Friday – three (3) hours a day. Fortunately I dropped my “Computer Concept” which freed up my Wednesdays. Imagine going a whole week of studying non-stop!
When the results came out…
For those who took the NEBOSH exam with me in March 2011, May 20th, 2011 is the day the news will come out and answer the question: did we pass all 3 papers and obtain our NEBOSH IGC, or did we fail a paper/all papers?
Out of the almost 30 candidates, I am – thankfully – one of the five that passed all papers! Now I await the arrival of the NEBOSH IGC certificate itself.