What is the NEBOSH Diploma?

7 minute read | 04 June 2019 09:00:00 BST

HSE-manager

The NEBOSH Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is a professional health and safety qualification. It’s designed to teach you everything you need to know about how to be an active, competent health and safety practitioner. That way, you'll be able to develop strategy, raise standards and improve efficiency in your company.  

Employers, governments and professional organisations all over the world demand the specialist skills you'll get from the NEBOSH Diploma. The prestigious qualification is seen as the benchmark for health and safety professionals, and will show employers your ability to make significant, strategic improvements.

What level is the NEBOSH Diploma?

The NEBOSH Diploma is similar to an honours degree. It's recognised around the world as a level 6 vocational qualification within the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) and Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). In Scotland, it's credit rated by the Scottish Qualification Authority as level 10 with 48 credits. 

You’ll need to have a foundation level knowledge of health and safety before you start. This can either come from a level-3 qualification like the NEBOSH General Certificate, or from at least 5 years work experience in the field.

Depending on your chosen learning method, it can take anywhere between 18 months – 3 years to complete the NEBOSH Diploma. As with any academic qualification, you’ll need to dedicate a significant amount of time to your own research and self-study, as well as completing the recommended taught hours.

What does the NEBOSH Diploma cover?

checklist-1622517_640-12The NEBOSH Diploma is available in two versions: National and International. The key difference between them is the application of legal requirements.

The NEBOSH National Diploma is guided by UK legislation and regulations. The NEBOSH International Diploma takes a risk management approach based on best practice and international standards, such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) codes of practice. Local laws and cultural factors are also included when appropriate.

Both versions teach the same practical skills and theory. That's what makes it so appealing to global employers. It helps make sure people all around the world at working to the same high standards.

The course has 4 units - 3 taught units, each with 9-11 elements, and 1 assignment based unit to assess what you’ve learnt throughout the course.  

Unit A: Managing Health and Safety

  • Elements: 9 for International, 11 for National
  • Taught hours: 88 for International, 103 for National
  • Recommended self-study hours: 68 for International, 85 for National
  • Total study hours: 156 hours for International, 188 for National

Unit A is the part of the course where you’ll gain a thorough grounding in health and safety management. You’ll start setting the scene of the health and safety landscape by looking at fundamental principles, including factors that influence health and safety standards.

You’ll then go on to look at health and safety regulation, comparing government and sociological models. In the National version, you'll look at the difference between criminal and civil law and study the UK the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. 

With the International version,  you’ll discuss the role of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in setting global health and safety standards, as well as how other non-governmental bodies such as trade associations, trade unions, professional groups, pressure groups and public perception help to influence performance.

For the rest of the unit you’ll look in depth at the practical elements of health and safety management including:

  • Theories/models of loss causation
  • Methods of analysing accident and ill-health data
  • Reporting requirements and procedures
  • Investigation procedures
  • Health and safety monitoring and measurement techniques
  • System reliability and system failure,
  • Risk management strategies
  • Health and safety leadership
  • Health and safety culture and more...

You’ll finish the unit by looking at the role of the health and safety practitioner. You’ll learn about what makes a competent practitioner, their responsibilities, the contribution they make to achieving organisational objectives, and the ethical principles that underpin the health and safety practitioner codes of conduct.

Unit B: Managing Hazardous Substances / Agents

  • Elements: 10
  • Taught hours: 65
  • Recommended self-study hours: 50
  • Total study hours: 115 hours

Unit B is where you’ll develop the skills to confidently control hazardous substances and agents. You’ll start by looking at the nature of occupational health and discuss the prevalence of work-related sickness and ill-health. You’ll also look at how occupational health can be managed at the role of occupational health services. 

You’ll then go into detail on hazardous substances. You’ll study the identification, assessment and evaluation of hazardous substances by looking at their classification, and the health effects of using hazardous substances in the workplace. You’ll also look at the human body’s defence responses to hazardous substances, and the factors to be considered when assessing the risks to health.

You’ll then go on learn about at the principles of prevention and control measures of exposure to hazardous substances, and the monitoring and measuring of hazardous substances, all with reference to relevant regulations and standards.

For the rest of the unit you’ll look at the risks and control of other hazards such as biological agents, noise and vibration, radiation, musculoskeletal risks and controls and work environment.

Unit C: Workplace and Work Equipment Safety

  • Elements: 10
  • Taught hours: 70
  • Recommended self-study hours: 50
  • Total study hours: 120 hours

The final taught unit, Unit C, will cover all aspects of workplace and work equipment safety. You’ll begin by looking at workplace welfare requirements and specific workplace issues such as safe working environment, confined spaces, working at height, structural safety and lone working.

You’ll then go on to look at the safety principles in a range of topics including fire and explosion, fire risk assessment, work equipment, workplace machinery, electrical safety, safety in construction activities and workplace transport.

As with previous units, you’ll cover each element in depth, discussing the scope, principles, responsibilities, risks and control measures surrounding each element.

Unit DNI: Application of Health and Safety in the Workplace

  • Elements: 1
  • Taught hours: 5
  • Recommended self-study hours: 72
  • Total study hours: 77 hours

Unit DNI is an 8000 word assessed project. You’ll have to demonstrate your ability by applying what you’ve learnt from the previous units.

You’ll carry out a review of the health and safety arrangements in a workplace, and then provide justified recommendations to respond to risk and improve performance. You’ll also need to demonstrate your understanding of the role of a health and safety practitioner.

How is the NEBOSH Diploma assessed?

The NEBOSH Diploma is assessed with 3 x written exams and 1 x 8000 word project. Written exams are taken under exam conditions at NEBOSH approved exam centres. You can find out all about the NEBOSH Diploma exams here

Where is the NEBOSH Diploma recognised?

The NEBOSH National Diploma and NEBOSH International Diploma is recognised by employers in all industries, all around the world. It meets the academic requirements to become a certified health and safety professional by boards such as Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board, BCRSP and BCSP, as well as Chartered Membership of IOSH.

Want To Learn More? Download Your Free NEBOSH Diploma Info Pack!

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Rosie Thomas

Rosie is the International Marketing Executive at Astutis. After graduating with a degree in Business and Management from Aberystwyth University, she joined the Astutis team to work closely with our learning development team and health and safety consultants to create useful content for our readers. Since taking her Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing online, Rosie particularly enjoys writing how-to-guides and career posts, using her own experience of online learning and professional development to offer advice to those thinking of taking a health and safety career. Rosie has also taken her NEBOSH General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety.