Example questionpaper and Examiners’feedback on expectedanswers (NGC1)

Example question paper andExaminers’ feedback onexpected answersUNIT NGC1:MANAGEMENT OF HEALTH AND SAFETYFor:NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and SafetyNEBOSH National Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk ManagementNEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and SafetyCONTENTSIntroduction2General comments3Comments on individual questions5 NEBOSH, Dominus Way, Meridian Business Park, Leicester LE19 1QWtel: 0116 263 4700fax: 0116 282 4000email: [email protected]: National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health is a registered charity, number 1010444

IntroductionNEBOSH (The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) was formed in 1979 asan independent examining board and awarding body with charitable status. We offer acomprehensive range of globally-recognised, vocationally-related qualifications designed to meet thehealth, safety, environmental and risk management needs of all places of work in both the private andpublic sectors.Courses leading to NEBOSH qualifications attract around 50,000 candidates annually and are offeredby over 600 course providers, with exams taken in over 120 countries around the world. Ourqualifications are recognised by the relevant professional membership bodies including the Institutionof Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and the International Institute of Risk and SafetyManagement (IIRSM).NEBOSH is an awarding body that applies best practice setting, assessment and marking and appliesto Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) regulatory requirements.This report provides guidance for candidates which it is hoped will be useful to candidates and tutorsin preparation for future examinations. It is intended to be constructive and informative and to promotebetter understanding of the syllabus content and the application of assessment criteria. NEBOSH 2015Any enquiries about this report publication should be addressed to:NEBOSHDominus WayMeridian Business ParkLeicesterLE19 1QWtel:0116 263 4700fax:0116 282 4000email: [email protected]

General commentsMany candidates are well prepared for this unit assessment and provide comprehensive and relevantanswers in response to the demands of the question paper. This includes the ability to demonstrateunderstanding of knowledge by applying it to workplace situations.There are always some candidates, however, who appear to be unprepared for the unit assessmentand who show both a lack of knowledge of the syllabus content and a lack of understanding of howkey concepts should be applied to workplace situations.Course providers and candidates will benefit from use of the “Guide to the NEBOSH National GeneralCertificate in Occupational Health and Safety” which is available via the NEBOSH website. Inparticular, the Guide sets out in detail the syllabus content for Unit NGC1 and tutor referencedocuments for each Element.Some candidates may over rely on knowledge of health and safety gained through their own workexperience. While practical experiences can sometimes be helpful they are not a substitute for tuitionand study of the syllabus content, to the breadth and depth indicated in the Guide referred to above.In order to meet the pass standard for this assessment, acquisition of knowledge and understandingacross the syllabus are prerequisites. However, candidates need to demonstrate their knowledge andunderstanding in answering the questions set. Referral of candidates in this unit is invariably becausethey are unable to write a full, well-informed answer to one or more of the questions asked.Some candidates find it difficult to relate their learning to the questions and as a result offer responsesreliant on recalled knowledge and conjecture and fail to demonstrate a sufficient degree ofunderstanding. Candidates should prepare themselves for this vocational examination by ensuringtheir understanding, not rote-learning pre-prepared answers.Candidates should therefore note this Report has not been written to provide ‘sample answers’ but togive examples of what Examiners are expecting and more specifically to highlight areas ofunderperformance.Common weaknesses and suggestions to assist providers and candidatesIt is recognised that many candidates are well prepared for their assessments. However, recurrentissues, as outlined below, continue to prevent some candidates reaching their full potential in theassessment.Weakness in examination technique Many candidates fail to apply the basic principles of examination technique and for somecandidates this means the difference between a pass and a referral. Candidates need to plan their time effectively. Some candidates fail to make good use of theirtime and give excessive detail in some answers leaving insufficient time to address all of thequestions. In some instances, candidates do not attempt all the required questions or are failing toprovide complete answers. Candidates are advised to always attempt an answer to aquestion even when the question is on an unfamiliar topic. At the risk of stating the obvious,an unattempted question will gain no marks. Questions or parts of questions missed can alsoindicate a weakness in time management. Some candidates fail to answer the question set and instead provide information that may berelevant to the topic but is irrelevant to the question and cannot therefore be awarded marks.3

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 whichpart of the question they were answering (by using the numbering from the question in theiranswer, for example). Structuring their answers to address the different parts of the questioncan also help in logically drawing out the points to be made in response.Candidates benefit from the chance to practice answering questions in examination like conditions.This should assist them to become familiar with the need to read questions carefully, consider, plantheir answer and then begin to write. By examination like conditions, practicing their answers withinappropriate time limits should help candidates with time management within the examination.Feedback to candidates on their answers to questions is a key part of these practice activities.Lack of attention to command word Many candidates fail to apply the command words (eg describe, outline, etc). Commandwords are the instructions that guide the candidate on the depth of answer required. If, forinstance, a question asks the candidate to ‘describe’ something, then few marks will beawarded to an answer that is an outline. Similarly, the command word ‘outline’ requires moreinformation than a list. The most common weakness is the provision of too little content in an answer to meet therequirement of the command word. This is an unfortunate error as it can mean that acandidate, who knows the topic, and correct points to include in their answer, misses out onmarks.There is good guidance available to candidates and providers “Guidance on command words andquestion papers” which can be accessed on the NEBOSH website. This guidance will assistcandidates to see and understand what is required in an answer when the different command wordsare used in questions. Some candidates miss out on marks by spending too long writing about one ortwo points when the answer requires more points to be covered. The chance to practice questionswith a range of command words and to receive feedback on the quality of their answers will benefitcandidates.Failing to read the question/memorising answers Some candidates appear to have answered a question they hoped to see in the questionpaper rather than the question actually asked. This error can lead to all the available marksfor a question being missed which can significantly impact on the likelihood of achieving thepass standard.Other weaknesses observed Candidates should be aware of the need to make their handwriting as legible as possible. Candidates should note that it is not necessary to start a new page in their answer booklet foreach section of a question. Candidates do not need to write the question out before answering it, they just need toindicate in the top right hand corner of the page which question is being answered. In somecases valuable time is lost doing this rather than focusing on the answer needed.4

Unit NGC1Management of health and safetyQuestion 1An enforcement officer has visited an organisation and has found that anumber of work activities have not had risk assessments completed.(a)Describe actions that the enforcement officer could take.(b)Outline key stages of a risk assessment AND identify issues thatwould need to be considered at EACH stage.(c)Explain criteria that could be used to prioritise any action required asa result of the completed risk assessment.(4)(10)(6)Part (a) of the question requires an answer focusing on the actions that theenforcement officer could take as opposed to the general powers that they might havewhen visiting workplaces. They may give advice or more informal support but morelikely they will use their more formal powers, including that of issuing an improvementnotice. Candidates needed to note the command word, this question is a ‘describe’and as such a reasonable amount of text in the form of a description is needed toelaborate on the points made.The general risk assessment process is one fundamental to health and safety and assuch a good knowledge of this process will assist anyone involved in health andsafety in the workplace. The risk assessment process forms a lengthy part of thesyllabus. There are 10 marks available in part (b) with an ‘outline’ and ‘identify’ andboth need to be addressed in the answer. The identification of hazards, rather thanthe identification of risks is the correct starting point for the risk assessment process,with marks awarded for also outlining who might be at risk and the evaluation of therisks involved. The question’s answer could be focused on the Health and SafetyExecutive’s ‘Five Steps to Risk Assessment’ publication but attention needs to be paidto the ‘identify the issues that would need to be considered at EACH stage’ ratherthan just outlining the key stages. It is important to read the question fully to ensureall parts are answered or valuable marks could be missed.Part (c) proved challenging and answers were limited, with a variety of answers givenincluding the hierarchy of control, principles of prevention and a duplicate of theanswer to part (b), the steps of the risk assessment. However, this part of thequestion was designed to be a more practical and realistic one. As many riskassessments get completed with numbers of remedial actions identified but thereneeds to be a way of deciding which actions need to be given priority. It is this issuethat is under consideration for part (c).As well as the risk evaluation, likelihood and severity, other criteria such as cost ofremedial action might be considered. There might be a number of actions that couldbe taken that would not actually cost the organisation any money directly. Equally, ifthere was a risk that would affect a large number of people or a vulnerable group ofworkers this one might be given priority over other issues.5

Question 2(a)(b)Identify work-related illnesses that are reportable under the Reportingof Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations(RIDDOR) 2013.(4)Outline reasons why employers should keep records of occupationalill-health among employees.(4)The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations(RIDDOR) were updated in 2013 and as such candidates were assessed on theirknowledge of one part of the Regulations, namely work-related illnesses. There is amuch shorter list of work-related conditions that need to be reported including anyoccupational cancer, occupational dermatitis, occupational asthma, tenosynovitis,carpel tunnel syndrome and conditions related to work exposure of biological agents.Candidates needed to note that the question was on ill-health and as such markscould not be awarded for structuring an answer around any reportable injuries ordangerous occurrences.Part (b) required an outline of the possible reasons why occupational ill-health shouldbe recorded. Details of ill-health may be recorded due to Department of SocialSecurity requirements, certain conditions as covered in part (a) may need to bereported due to legal requirements under RIDDOR. Equally, insurance and civilclaims may need ill-health to be recorded, it may also form part of any healthsurveillance programme.Question 3Outline job factors that could lead to poor health and safety behaviour in theworkplace.(8)There are a range of factors that may lead to poor health and safety behaviour.These are divided within the syllabus into organisational, job and personal factors.This specific question narrowed this and focused purely on the job factors issue. Jobfactors focus on the task itself and the workplace, rather than the people involved orthe organisation as a whole. Having unsuitable equipment, equipment that isdamaged or unavailable, would be examples of relevant job factors. The overalldesign of the job could also be an issue if a safe system of work was out of date or didnot enable the work to be completed effectively.Answers need to focus on the job or task and not stray off into individual ororganisational factors in order for full marks to be awarded. This is an ‘outline’question which means outlining each issue, to show how they could lead to poorhealth and safety performance.Question 4(a)Outline functions of a permit-to-work form.(2)(b)Outline key elements of a permit-to-work system.(6)The functions of a permit-to-work form is to enable a record to be kept of high riskactivities and for the co