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July 2012

Guide to NEBOSH
Diploma in
Occupational Health
and Safety - Unit IA

Examiners Report
Unit IA: International management
of health and safety
JULY 2012



General comments

Comments on individual questions

2012 NEBOSH, Dominus Way, Meridian Business Park, Leicester LE19 1QW
tel: 0116 263 4700

fax: 0116 282 4000



The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health is a registered charity, number 1010444


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.
Courses leading to NEBOSH qualifications attract around 35,000 candidates annually and are offered
by over 500 course providers, with examinations taken in over 100 countries around the world. Our
qualifications are recognised by the relevant professional membership bodies including the Institution
of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and the International Institute of Risk and Safety
Management (IIRSM).
NEBOSH is an awarding body to be recognised and regulated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority
Where appropriate, NEBOSH follows the latest version of the GCSE, GCE, Principal Learning and
Project Code of Practice published by the regulatory authorities in relation to examination setting and
marking. While not obliged to adhere to this code, NEBOSH regards it as best practice to do so.
Candidates scripts are marked by a team of Examiners appointed by NEBOSH on the basis of their
qualifications and experience. The standard of the qualification is determined by NEBOSH, which is
overseen by the NEBOSH Council comprising nominees from, amongst others, the Health and Safety
Executive (HSE), the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and
the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). Representatives of course providers, from
both the public and private sectors, are elected to the NEBOSH Council.
This report on the examination provides information on the performance of candidates which it is
hoped will be useful to candidates and tutors in preparation for future examinations. It is intended to
be constructive and informative and to promote better understanding of the syllabus content and the
application of assessment criteria.

Any enquiries about this report publication should be addressed to:

Dominus Way
Meridian Business Park
LE19 1QW
0116 263 4700
0116 282 4000


General Comments
Many candidates are well prepared for this unit assessment and provide comprehensive and relevant
answers in response to the demands of the question paper. This includes the ability to demonstrate
understanding of knowledge by applying it to workplace situations. There are always some
candidates, however, who appear to be unprepared for the unit assessment and who show both a lack
of knowledge of the syllabus content and a lack of understanding of how key concepts should be
applied to workplace situations.
In order to meet the pass standard for this assessment, acquisition of knowledge and understanding
across the syllabus are prerequisites. However, candidates need to demonstrate their knowledge and
understanding in answering the questions set. Referral of candidates in this unit is invariably because
they are unable to write a full, well-informed answer to the question asked.
Some candidates find it difficult to relate their learning to the questions and as a result offer responses
reliant on recalled knowledge and conjecture and fail to demonstrate any degree of understanding.
Candidates should prepare themselves for this vocational examination by ensuring their
understanding, not rote-learning pre-prepared answers.
Candidates should note that Examiners Reports are not written to provide sample answers but to
give examples of what Examiners were expecting and more specifically to highlight areas of under
Common pitfalls
It is recognised that many candidates are well prepared for their assessments. However, recurrent
issues, as outlined below, continue to prevent some candidates reaching their full potential in the

Many candidates fail to apply the basic principles of examination technique and for some
candidates this means the difference between a pass and a referral.

In some instances, candidates do not attempt all the required questions or are failing to provide
complete answers. Candidates are advised to always attempt an answer to a compulsory
question, even when the mind goes blank. Applying basic health and safety management
principles can generate credit worthy points.

Some candidates fail to answer the question set and instead provide information that may be
relevant to the topic but is irrelevant to the question and cannot therefore be awarded marks.

Many candidates fail to apply the command words (also known as action verbs, eg describe,
outline, etc). Command words are the instructions that guide the candidate on the depth of answer
required. If, for instance, a question asks the candidate to describe something, then few marks
will be awarded to an answer that is an outline. Similarly the command word identify requires
more information than a list.

Some candidates fail to separate their answers into the different sub-sections of the questions.
These candidates could gain marks for the different sections if they clearly indicated which part of
the question they were answering (by using the numbering from the question in their answer, for
example). Structuring their answers to address the different parts of the question can also help in
logically drawing out the points to be made in response.

Candidates need to plan their time effectively. Some candidates fail to make good use of their
time and give excessive detail in some answers leaving insufficient time to address all of the

Candidates should also be aware that Examiners cannot award marks if handwriting is illegible.

The International Diploma in Health and Safety is taught and examined in English. Candidates are
therefore expected to have a good command of both written and spoken English including
technical and scientific vocabulary. The recommended standard expected of candidates is
equivalent to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) level 7 (very good user).
It is evident from a number of scripts that there are candidates attempting the examination without
the necessary English language skills. More information on the IELTS standards can be found at


UNIT IA International management of health and safety

Section A all questions compulsory

Question 1

Outline issues that should be considered when planning a health and

safety inspection programme.


Information on the specific workplace conditions or behaviours that might

be covered in an inspection is not required.
Despite the question informing candidates that information on specific workplace
conditions or behaviours was not required, some candidates deviated into outlining
what would be inspected. Limited answers tended to concentrate on workplace
Examiners were looking for candidates to outline points such as: reference to previous
findings; the inspection team; competency; frequency; and method and content of
It is important to recognise that the question required an outline. In too many cases,
candidates provided a list of points, rather than giving the relevant issue in the context
of planning an inspection programme.

Question 2


An extract from a company annual report is given below.

Comment critically on the suitability of the content in providing

information to the stakeholders.


The company has done much better at health and safety in the last year
compared to previous years. In 2008 there were 170 accidents that
required first-aid treatment compared to 180 in 2007, 185 in 2006 and
240 in 2005. This significant reduction is due to our new health and
safety manager and a reduction in staff numbers from 1500 in 2005 to
1400 in 2006 and 1300 in 2007 to 900 in 2008, which also helps reduce
business costs. Fatalities were also reduced from 11 in 2007 to 4 in
2008, a significant decrease.
The management team is confident of further reductions in 2009.

Calculate the non-fatal accident incidence rates AND comment

on the findings.


Part (a) of the question required a critical commentary on the content of the extract.
This style of question requires candidates to apply their knowledge to the situation,
rather than to reproduce technical information that has been committed to memory.
Examiners were looking for candidates to recognise that: the report showed no
commitment to health and safety; there was no recognition of proactive and reactive
management; the data was shown in an unclear way and could be improved by using
graphical representation; and there was no remorse shown in the fatality comments.


Part (b) was generally well answered, although it did identify candidates who did not
know how to calculate the rates. Candidates were expected to make the comment that
accident numbers decrease but the ratios increase.
This is an important point for the safety professional to understand since the raw
accident data may give the impression that safety performance is actually improving.

Question 3

An organisation is proposing to move from a health and safety

management system based on the International Labour Organisation ILO
OSH 2001 model to one that aligns itself with BS OHSAS 18001.
Outline the possible advantages AND disadvantages of such a change.


This question was well answered by most candidates. A basic knowledge and
understanding of a health and safety management system based on the ILOOSH
2011 model and BS OHSAS 18001 was required in order to answer this question
adequately. Those candidates who were able to demonstrate this knowledge and
understanding were able to clearly distinguish between the advantages and
disadvantages of moving from the ILOOSH 2001 model and BS OHSAS 18001. A
broad range of areas for consideration was available including accreditation, cost,
sophistication and integration with other standards, all of which would have formed the
basis of a good outline of the advantages and disadvantages of such a move.
Candidates should take note of the command words in each question as those
candidates who tended to list issues, instead of providing an outline as required by the
question, did not gain the marks that were available for this question. Additionally,
those candidates who did not provide a reasonable range of issues were not able to
demonstrate a breadth of understanding in their answers and therefore, again, did not
merit full marks for the answers provided.

Question 4



Outline what is meant by punitive damages in relation to a

compensation award clearly stating their purpose AND to whom
the damages are paid.


In relation to a claim for compensation, outline the meaning of

the terms:

no fault liability;



breach of duty of care.


Part (a) was assessing candidates knowledge of punitive damages. Good answers
referred to the fact that punitive damages are a monetary award that is paid to the
claimant. However, the intention is not to compensate the injured party but to act as a
deterrent or punishment to prevent the repetition of the offence by the defendant or
others. To gain better marks, candidates could have referred to what the court would
take into account when setting the amount of the award to be given to the claimant.
Few candidates had a good understanding of the meaning of the terms no fault
liability and breach of duty of care in part (b), which is central to the payment of
compensation to injured workers.
Compensation paid on a no fault basis in part (b) (ii) would include the fact that the
injured party is not required to prove fault against the employer. Injury alone confers
the right to compensation which is paid from a central government fund or insurance
Where no fault compensation is not available, injured persons will have to prove a
breach of a duty of care. Candidates generally had a poor understanding of a breach
of duty of care in part (b) (ii). It is important to understand the three conditions that


must be satisfied to establish a breach of duty of care. The claimant must firstly show
that there was in fact a duty of care owed by the employer to the claimant and that the
employer was in breach of this duty and finally that the loss, damage or injury incurred
resulted from this breach of duty of care. Thus, fault must be proven to gain
compensation for injury.

Question 5

A worker has been seriously injured after being struck by material

transported using an overhead crane.
Outline the types of human failure which may have contributed to the
accident AND, in EACH case, give examples relevant to the scenario to
illustrate your answer.


This question highlighted that some candidates either did not know about skill based
errors, mistakes and violations or that they failed to recognise this question related to
those. Some outlined mechanical failures of the crane or suggested lack of designated
pedestrian walkways as possible causes of the accident.
Those with a grasp of human failures models were able to gain good marks,
particularly those who broke down the different types of failures into skill based errors,
mistakes and violations. This methodical approach generally led to good marks being
Some candidates gave reasonably good outlines of skill based errors and mistakes
but omitted to include violations.
Candidates are reminded to read the question thoroughly before answering since
many candidates did not give examples as required by the question.

Question 6

Outline, with appropriate examples, the key features of the following risk
management concepts:

risk avoidance;



risk reduction;



risk transfer;



risk retention.


This question was well answered by a large number of candidates and it appears that
this topic is well covered by many course providers. Although there were exceptions,
there were many more good examples of key features of each of the risk management
concepts, together with a variety of satisfactory examples.
The Examiner was expecting candidates to cover the key features of each concept
and to illustrate with an example. This is a common style of question and seeks to
allow candidates to demonstrate their understanding of specific concepts and how
they are used in the real world.


Section B three from five questions to be attempted

Question 7

You are preparing a detailed report intended to persuade senior

management to make resources available for the management of health
and safety.
Outline reasons for managing health and safety that you would include in
the report.


For a health and safety management system to be effective, it requires adequate

resources to be made available.
This question was therefore assessing candidates knowledge on the reasons why
health and safety should be managed and to focus on the issues that they would
include in a report that would persuade senior management to make these resources
Many candidates missed the word detailed report in the question and only provided a
narrow range of issues that they would include in their report.
In order to persuade, candidates would have to write more than a list of issues to
include in a report. They would be required to provide an outline of the issues as
required by the question in order to show how these issues would affect health and
safety within the organisation and, in turn, be persuasive.
Although many candidates did approach the question by going down the legal, moral
and financial reasons, which was a good start, the issues that they provided under
each of these headings was quite limited, thus reducing the marks that could be
gained for the answers provided.

Question 8


Outline the use and limitations of fault tree analysis.


A machine operator is required to reach between the tools of a

vertical hydraulic press between each cycle of the press. Under
fault conditions, the operator is at risk from a crushing injury due
to either (a) the press tool falling by gravity or (b) an unplanned
(powered) stroke of the press. The expected frequencies of the
failures that would lead to either of these effects are given in the
table below:
Failure type


Frequency (per year)

Flexible hose failure

Detachment of press
Hydraulic valve failure
Activation button failure
Electrical fault








Given that the operator is at risk for 20 per cent of the

time that the machine is operating, construct and
quantify a simple fault tree to show the expected
frequency of the top event (a crushing injury to the
operators hand).




Outline, with reasons, whether or not the level of risk

calculated should be tolerated.


Assuming that the nature of the task cannot be changed,

explain how the fault tree might be used to prioritise
remedial actions.


This question is a common style of question that appears in an examination of this

level. It is designed to assess the candidates ability to manipulate data using the FTA
as a simple tool and subsequently interpret the data to assist in risk management
decision making.
Part (a) was generally poorly answered and was sometimes completely ignored by
candidates, possibly in their eagerness to answer part (b).
Candidates who attempted part (b) of this question tended to do well. Not all those
who tried could, however, prepare an adequate diagram. A common failing was to
omit the period for which the operator was exposed and finish the fault tree when the
tool came down.
The later elements of part (b) were generally poorly answered. Perhaps the most
concerning failure was candidates who considered the risk tolerable having correctly
calculated the frequency of the top event. Examiners were expecting candidates to
consider that the risk was too high with plausible explanation (eg if 10 presses, then
one serious accident per year). For the actions, candidates could have used the
general principles of using probability data (eg emphasis on preventing gravity falls as
the most likely event).

Question 9


Outline the role of health and safety legislation in the workplace.



Outline the limitations of health and safety legislation in the



This was not a popular question and those candidates who attempted it were not able
to demonstrate a full understanding of the role of health and safety legislation in the
workplace or its limitations.
Given the diverse types and range of health and safety legislation that exists in
different parts of the world, candidates at this level are expected to develop an
understanding of the principles of legislation and how they can be used to affect
health and safety standards in the workplace and the corresponding limitations
associated with state regulation of standards.
For part (a), this would therefore include an outline of the role of ILO conventions and
how it addresses regional differences by harmonising standards between different
countries. A good answer would also address how legislation sets minimum
standards, how it sets and maintains these standards and penalises those who do not
attain these standards. Marks were available for providing an outline of how health
and safety legislation protects the worker as was an outline of the role of goal setting
For part (b), candidates again demonstrated a lack of understanding of the limitations
of health and safety legislation in the workplace. If candidates had thought about what
they had written for part (a), this would have helped them to provide a better answer
for part (b). This would have brought out issues such as the differences and
interpretation in legislation, persons involved or not involved with health and safety
legislation or setting standards and how legislation resources for health and safety are
legislated for.


Question 10

Extensive repair work is needed to the roof of the main production area of
a large factory. The factory is to remain fully operational during the work.


Identify the criteria that might be used when selecting a

contractor for the work to ensure they have the necessary
competence in health and safety.


Identify ways in which the factory management should control

the work of the contractor to ensure that risks to factory workers
are minimised.


This was a contractor selection and supervision question and candidates who were
able to provide an answer that encompassed the practical application of contractor
management gained good marks. Those candidates who took each part of the
question in turn tended to do better. They firstly concentrated on the criteria
necessary to ensure the selection of a contractor with the necessary competency in
health and safety to undertake the task and then addressed the issues to be
considered to control the work of the contractor when on site.
However, many who answered this question could not be awarded full marks because
the answers provided were lists and did not demonstrate an understanding of the
For part (a), candidates should have included issues that would have demonstrated
that the contractor had the knowledge, skill and experience to undertake the work and
how they could demonstrate this.
For part (b) candidates should have considered how the contractor could demonstrate
that they could physically do the work safely that would include equipment and
materials they would bring on site, using the materials and equipment, methods to
undertake the work safely and ways management could ensure the contractors were
undertaking the work as agreed.

Question 11

The management of an organisation intends to introduce new, safer

working procedures but the workers are resisting this change.


Outline practical measures the organisation could take to

communicate effectively when managing this change.


Outline additional steps the management could take to gain the

support and commitment of workers when managing this change.


Good communication plays an essential role in the management of health and safety
and this question gave the candidates an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge
and understanding of the range of practical measures that an organisation could take
to communicate new, safer working procedures within the organisation.
However, to gain good marks, candidates must take note of the command words used
in each of the questions as these words give specific guidance as to the level of detail
required to demonstrate a competent understanding. Again, those candidates who
provided brief notes instead of an outline, as required by the question, could not be
awarded full marks.
For part (a), candidates were required to outline practical measures that could be
used to communicate, such as providing newsletters and safety bulletins. However,
part (b) concerned measures to take to gain support and commitment during this
introduction of the new procedures and safer working procedures so candidates
should have first sought the reasons for the resistance to their introduction, and then
provided additional steps management could take to secure this support and


commitment such as consulting with the workers and providing training to those
Candidates must read questions carefully and plan their answers before they start
writing to avoid duplicating their answer in the second part of the question, which is
quite common. By reading the question carefully, it can be seen that there is a clear
division between the requirements for the answer for part (a) and that for part (b).



The National Examination

Board in Occupational
Safety and Health
Dominus Way
Meridian Business Park
Leicester LE19 1QW
telephone +44 (0)116 2634700
fax +44 (0)116 2824000