Example questionpaper and Examiners’feedback on expectedanswers (IGC1)

Example question paper andExaminers’ feedback onexpected answersUNIT IGC1:MANAGEMENT OF INTERNATIONALHEALTH AND SAFETYFor:NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and SafetyNEBOSH International Certificate in Construction Health and SafetyNEBOSH International Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk ManagementCONTENTSIntroduction2General 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 InternationalGeneral Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety” which is available via the NEBOSH website. Inparticular, the Guide sets out in detail the syllabus content for Unit IGC1 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 ‘identify’ 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 IGC1Management of international safety and healthQuestion 1A fire has occurred at a workplace and a worker has been badly injured(a)Outline the process for investigating the accident(b)Outline why the investigation report needs to be submitted tosenior management.(5)In addition to senior managers, identify who may need to knowthe outcome of the investigation.(5)(c)(10)Part (a) was well answered by those candidates who understood the process forinvestigation of an accident and who set out an answer in a ‘step by step’ manner,from ensuring that the scene of the accident is now safe, to the actions likely to followthe consideration of the accident report by senior management.There are ten marks available for part (a) which should indicate to a candidate thatthey need to outline a number of parts of a process to give an answer of sufficientbreadth to gain good marks.Most candidates could give some valid points, for example, interview witnesses,identify the immediate and root causes of the accident. Fewer candidates gave anappropriate outline of sufficient parts of the process to gain a good mark for part (a).The command word for part (a) is ‘outline’ and those candidates who listed even validpoints will have missed out on gaining marks because the command word was notfollowed. This comment about the need to ‘outline’ is applicable to part (b) below.Part (b) had marks available for reasons that reflect senior managers’ responsibilities,roles and authority. Marks were available for reasons such as senior managementhaving the power to take remedial action and their ability to allocate resources.There were some candidates who did not outline sufficient, valid points for part (b).Part (c) was reasonably answered by most candidates, with many identifying thatpersons such as the health and safety officer, or other appropriate professionals andthe victim may need to know the outcome of the investigation. Also, organisationssuch as the enforcement agency may need to know.As with parts (a) and (b), there was a common weakness related to the breadth ofanswers. Candidates would not gain the five marks available by identifying only oneor two valid points.Question 2Outline the key elements of a health and safety management system.(8)There were two ways that candidates could answer this question that would lead togaining reasonable to good marks, depending upon what form of health and safetymanagement system they had studied and were outlining in their answer.An outline that covered the key elements of policy, organising for health and safety,planning and implementing, measuring performance and/or evaluation, audit andreview was appropriate.5

An answer would also be valid and gain marks if it outlined occupational health andsafety policy, planning, implementation and operation, checking and managementreview.As the question has an ‘outline’ command word, this indicated to candidates that theyneeded to provide more than just a list of headings. For example, marks wereavailable for a reasonable outline of ‘policy’ that included that it would need to be clearand set aims and objectives.Some candidates missed out on gaining marks because they provided too muchcontent on only one or two elements. To gain good marks candidates were requiredto give a reasonable outline of an appropriate breadth of key elements and not adetailed account of one, for example a very long detailed account of ‘audit’.There were no marks available for an answer that contained only an acronym or aidememoir.Question 2 is an example of a question where all of the marks available could bemissed by not reading the question carefully and not understanding what is required.A few candidates provided an outline of the elements of a health and safety policy,and not of a management system.Question 3(a)(b)(i)Give the meaning of the term ‘hazard’.(2)(ii) Give the meaning of the term ‘risk’.(2)Identify means of hazard identification that may be used in theworkplace.(4)This question was, generally, well answered.For part (a) (i) and (ii), most candidates were able to gain some marks. A number ofcandidates were able to give both the meaning of both ‘hazard’ and ‘risk’ and gain thefull two marks available for each.For part (b), there was a lack of appropriate breadth of answer. There were fourmarks available for part (b) which indicates that candidates need to identify more thanjust one or two means of hazard identification. Means such as inspection and auditwere frequently seen in answers. Other appropriate means of hazard identificationcould have included health surveillance and consultation with the workforce.Although an answer to a question with ‘identify’ as the command word does not needto be to the same depth as an ‘outline’, full marks for valid points cannot usually begained by just a list of single words.Question 4(a)(b)Outline the main health and safety responsibilities of anemployer.(6)Identify actions that an enforcement agency could take if it findsthat an employer is not meeting his / her responsibilities.(2)Part (a) was generally well answered with most candidates gaining some of the marksavailable. Marks were available for an outline of responsibilities such as the provisionof a safe workplace, provision of personal protective equipment and provision ofadequate welfare facilities.6

There was a common weakness among candidates who did not outline sufficient validpoin