National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

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The NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health is an examined basic qualification, designed to provide a breadth of knowledge for non-specialists in occupational safety and health.

The NEBOSH course is broken down  into three units:

  • Unit NGCI – Management of Healthy and Safety (theory)
  • Unit GC2 – Controlling workplace hazards (theory)
  • Unit GC3 – Health and safety  practical Application 

Designed for managers, supervisors and staff from all types of organisations who need a broad understanding of health and safety issues, this certificate helps them manage risks effectively. The National General Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health is the most widely held health and safety qualification in the UK with over 160,000 people having gained the award since it was launched in 1989.

Many candidates take the exam as a first step to a career in health and safety. It provides a valuable overview of health and safety, and is a sound basis for further professional study.

The course has been designed for roles that specifically relate to health and safety at work. The course (delivered by self-study books) can be used as a stand-alone programme if necessary. Included within the programme is a tutorial support facility.

For further information on NEBOSH and for a list of NEBOSH publications, please visit their website.

To register or arrange your examinations please click here.

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  • National General Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health £595.00
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    The NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health is an examined basic qualification, designed to provide a breadth of knowledge for non-specialists in occupational safety and health.

  • Standard of Entry
  • Candidate Pre-requisites
  • Breakdown
  • Exams
  • Exam Arrangements/Registration
  • Cost

The NEBOSH National General Certificate has been accredited and credit rated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). It sits in the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) at SCQF Level 6 with 15 SCQF credit points.

SCQF Level 6 is comparable to NQF/QCF Level 3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

Holders of the National General Certificate are entitled to Associate Membership (AIOSH) of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). The qualification also meets the academic requirements for Technical Membership (Tech IOSH) of IOSH).

There are no academic qualifications, skills or experience pre-requisites for entry to the NEBOSH course. 

However it should be noted that currently the assessments are offered, and must be answered, in English only. The qualification includes a requirement to write a short report based on the candidates own workplace, which must also be in English. The standard of English required by candidates must be such that they can both understand and articulate the concepts contained in the syllabus. NEBOSH recommends that candidates undertaking the qualification should reach a minimum standard of English equivalent  to an International English Language Testing system score of 6.0 or higher in IELTS tests.

The NEBOSH course is broken down into three sections with a number of modules to complete. We have put together recommended study hours for each module: 

Unit NGC 1 Management of Health and Safety 

  • Foundations in health and safety  (6 hours)
  • Health and safety management systems 1 – Policy (4 hours)
  • Health and safety management systems 2 – Organising (6 hours)
  • Health and safety management systems 3 – Planning (11 hours)
  • Health and safety management systems 4 – Measuring, audit and review (9 hours)

Unit GC 2 Controlling workplace hazards 

  • Workplace hazards and risk control (8 hours)
  • Transport hazards and risk control (4 hours)
  • Musculo-skeletal hazards and risk control (6 hours)
  • Work equipment hazards and risk control (6 hours)
  • Electrical safety (3 hours)
  • Fire safety (6 hours)
  • Chemical and biological health hazards and control (6 hours)
  • Physical and psychological health hazards and control (3 hours)

Unit GC 3 Practical Application

The aim of this unit is to test a candidate’s ability to complete the following:

  • Carry out, unaided, a safety inspection of a workplace - identifying the more common hazards, deciding whether they are adequately controlled and, where necessary, suggesting appropriate and cost effective control measures
  • Prepare a report that persuasively urges management to take appropriate action - explaining why such action is needed (including reference to possible breaches of legislation) and identifying, with due consideration of reasonable practicability, the control measures that should be implemented.

We also recommend an additional 51 hours of private reading. 

The approach is practical rather than theoretical and, where possible, courses are related directly to the work experience of candidates.

Candidates will be awarded a unit certificate for each unit passed. Once a candidate has successfully completed all three units (NGC1, GC2 and GC3) the overall qualification will be issued.

Units NGC1 and GC2 are each assessed by a two-hour written examination. Each examination consists of ten ‘short-answer’ questions and one ‘long-answer’ question and marked by external examiners appointed by NEBOSH.

Unit GC3 is assessed by one two-hour practical examination carried out in the candidate's own workplace. The assessment is normally carried out within 10 days of the written examination. The practical examination is internally assessed by OPITO and externally moderated by NEBOSH. Candidates must adhere to the terms and conditions throughout the examination process.

The practical application may be submitted in the candidate's own handwriting or be word processed. The submission must include:

  • Completed observation sheets covering a number and range of hazards and good practice, identifying suitable control measures and timescales;
  • An introduction and executive summary;
  • Main findings of the completed inspection;
  • Conclusions which summarize the main issues identified in the candidate's workplace;
  • Completed recommendations table

Stipulations from NEBOSH:

The practical application (GC3) must be carried out in the candidate's own workplace. The workplace should be large enough to provide a sufficient range of hazards in the areas covered, to provide an adequate range for identification. In the instance that the workplace is too large, the candidate should limit the area considered.

Management at the premises should be consulted to ensure the candidate can carry out the inspection without endangering their own health and safety.

Where confidentiality requires, locations and company names to be omitted from the report, guidance should be sought from NEBOSH.

Candidates do not require supervision when carrying out the practical application but the candidate must sign a declaration that the work submitted is their own. If this declaration is not submitted the candidates result may be declared void. A signature can be electronic or faxed.

Candidates must note that accredited course providers cannot comment on practical applications before submission/ or marking.

For further information, please read the NEBOSH GC3 Guidance and Information pack. 

To register or arrange your examination please click here.

The NEBOSH examination is held nationally four times per year in March, June, September and December on dates set by NEBOSH. 

The two written papers are taken on the same day with normal timings of 0930-1130 (Paper NGC1) and 1400-1600 (Paper GC2). 

Assessment of the practical unit (GC3) will take place within 10 working days of (before or after) the date of the NGC1 and/or GC2 written papers (the ‘date of the examination’). The date of, and arrangements for, the practical assessment will be advised to candidates by a member of our team. 

When the examination date has been chosen, each candidate must contact our UK office to obtain a registration form. 

The examination fee and closing date for registration are shown on the form. Registration forms, together with full payment of the registration fee, should be sent to our UK office by the set closing date.   

Late entry fees apply to registration forms received up to 7 days, and between 7 and 14 days, after the closing date. 

The closing dates for registration for ‘national’ examinations are as follows:

March examination - 29 January
June examination - 29 April
September examination - 29 July
December examination - 29 October

Referred candidates who are re-taking one or two components of the examination will be liable to an administration/ invigilation and a registration fee payable to OPITO. 


The course fee is £595 including VAT - This does not include the registration fee below payable direct to OPITO when you register for your exam.

NGC1 Management of health and safety – registration fee £44 including VAT
GC2 Controlling workplace hazards – registration fee £44 including VAT
GC3 Health and safety practical application – registration fee £22 including VAT

Candidates may choose to take one, two or all three units at any time.

NB: For candidates planning to do two or all three units, Unit GC3 (Health and safety practical application) is not normally offered independently of the taught units (NGC1/GC2).
Candidates will normally be required to complete the GC3 assessment within 10 working days of sitting the examination for unit NGC1 and/or GC2, on a date to be agreed with their accredited course provider.