NEBOSH Health and Safety Qualifications

The rise in awareness of health and safety issues together with a raft of legislation directly applicable to the construction industry has created many employment opportunities within the realm of Health and Safety.

For anyone considering such a career within the building industry the NEBOSH Certificate has become an almost essential requirement. A relevant health and safety qualification can also be beneficial for those working in building and construction generally.

The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) offers a range of qualifications to suit almost everyone – from those just starting out to experienced managers and professionals. 

NEBOSH qualifications are recognised by the relevant professional membership bodies including the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM) and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). The Board offer three levels of qualification:


Award-level qualifications provide a basic understanding of health and safety principles and practice and offer an ideal introduction to advanced NEBOSH qualifications.

NEBOSH Health and Safety at Work Qualification

The NEBOSH Health and Safety at Work Qualification is an introductory level qualification aimed at supervisors and team leaders or anyone working in a training or educational environment.

The course runs over 3 days and covers all the basic health and safety principles including risk assessments and identifying workplace hazards such as fire safety, transport and manual handling. The course is provided by a range of local colleges and private training providers.


Certificate-level qualifications provide an excellent foundation in health and safety for managers, supervisors and people starting out on a career in health and safety.

These qualifications are widely taken as a first step towards a career in health and safety and are accepted by IOSH – the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health – in meeting the academic requirements for Technician Membership of IOSH (Tech IOSH).

National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety is recognised as the leading health and safety award for the construction industry and is aimed at Supervisors, Managers and CDM coordinators.

The Certificate covers the main legal requirements relating to health and safety in UK construction work, identification and control of construction workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge.

No previous health and safety knowledge is required although an understanding of the basic practical aspects of the construction industry will be an advantage. The qualification is divided into three units, each of which is assessed separately:

  • Management of health and safety (NGC1)
  • Managing and controlling hazards in construction activities (NCC1)
  • Health and safety practical application (NCC2)

Units NGC1 and NCC1 are taught units each assessed by a two-hour written examination. Unit NCC2 is assessed by a two-hour practical examination carried out at your own workplace to test how you apply what you’ve learned in a real working environment.

NEBOSH International Certificate in Construction Health and Safety

The NEBOSH International Certificate in Construction Health and Safety is a new qualification for those in the construction industry outside of the UK.  

The International Construction Certificate is modelled on the NEBOSH National Construction Certificate (NCC). The key difference between the two qualifications is the applicability of legal requirements. Specific reference to UK law is replaced with reference to International Labour Organisation Standards.

The syllabus includes:

  • Foundations in health and safety
  • Identifying hazards and principle and practice of risk assessments
  • Principles of control and reducing risk
  • Investigating and recording incidents
  • Management of construction activities
  • Hazards and controls on a construction site
  • Movement of people and vehicles
  • Manual and mechanical handling
  • The control of fire and electrical hazards
  • Working at height
  • Control measures for evacuation at work
  • Confined spaces hazards and risks

The syllabus is divided into 3 units:

  • Unit 1: Management of international health and safety via written examination
  • Unit 2: Managing and controlling hazards in international construction activities via written examination
  • Unit 3: Practical application based on observations in students own workplace

A certificate is issued for each unit passed and a final qualification parchment is issued on successful completion of all three units.


NEBOSH’s Diplomas are professional qualifications for health, safety and environmental practitioners. Previous experience of health and safety is strongly recommended and entry requirements may be set by course providers.

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma is the flagship NEBOSH award and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals. Since its introduction in 1988 it has become established as the most popular qualification of its kind, with over 10,000 students having successfully gained the Diploma.

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety provides the core health and safety knowledge which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an Occupational Health and Safety Practitioner.

There no formal entry requirements for this qualification, however candidates should consider that this is professional level qualification, approximately equivalent to Level 6. The qualification is divided into four units, each of which is assessed separately:

  • Unit A: Managing health and safety
  • Unit B: Hazardous agents in the workplace
  • Unit C: Workplace and work equipment safety
  • Unit D: Application of health and safety theory and practice

Students may choose to take individual units in any order over a five-year period and will be awarded a unit certificate for each unit passed.

Units A, B and C are each assessed by one three-hour written examination.Unit D is assessed by a written assignment of approximately 8,000 words, designed to test knowledge across the syllabus by assessing application of health and safety theory and practice.

Studying for Your Qualification

Depending on the course chosen you’ll be able to study part-time or full-time as well as on-line. The cost of courses vary considerably so it is definitely worth shopping around.

Of course if your employer is paying then it won’t cost you anything although there may be a clause in your contract of employment meaning you may have to pay the cost back if you leave? 

In terms of difficulty the full course can be quite challenging as there is a lot of legislation to learn although help is always at hand if you just ask and, of course, there are a number of useful publications designed especially for those studying for NEBOSH qualifications.

See Also
Holding a white hard hat
Career Choices in Construction
Building control officer inspecting site
Building Control Officer