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NEBOSH OBE- what do we think and what do you need

NEBOSH Open Book Examinations OBE

NEBOSH UK introduced the new format of assessment for the NEBOSH International General Certificate called the Open Book Examination. Yes it is very different from the previous paper based NEBOSH IGC examinations. In the past there were 3 IGC papers. IG1 and IG2 were paper based examinations and IG3 was a report that needed to be submitted to the NEBOSH training providers for marking. However now this new format has only 2 papers IG1 and IG2 for the NEBOSH International General Certificate. IG1 is the "theory part" and IG2 is the "practical report". At the same time IG1 now is a scenario based examination. There are scenario questions from the scenario described to the learner (or the person sitting for the examination).

This allows learners to express the application of their skills with underpinning HSE knowledge. Learners have 24 hours to read, understand and provide their answers online through NEBOSH examination portal. No need to come down to any training center or examination venue.

After the online OBE assessment, a closing interview will be conducted by the NEBOSH learning partners that has helped you register for the NEBOSH IGC examinations. This closing interview is to confirm that the documents submitted are done by the learner during the exam session. Also, the Interviewer might ask some questions regarding the subject.

How do you take the NEBOSH Open Book Examination

Of course you need to register for the NEBOSH IGC course with your NEBOSH approved learning center. After registering for the NEBOSH IGC Open Book Exam, nearing the exam date you will be sent an email to allow you to test and access the NEBOSH portal. Should you not receive the instructions or have difficulties in accessing it, do contact your learning provider.

On the day of the exam at UK 9am, the NEBOSH online Open Book Examination will start and you have to log in to the NEBOSH examination portal with your credentials. The scenario and the questions will be posted there, you can prepare your answers offline and upload them etc.

NEBOSH Online Open Book Examination can be undertaken at location (work or home but hopefully a place that allows you to focus) via a digital medium (PC, Laptop, or any other smart devices). Learner or candidate can make use of their textbook/course provider notes/internet as resources to know to understand the question and give the most appropriate answer to the given scenario/questions and complete the exam in the given time, 24 hours.

However do not copy paste or plagiarize. Cheating or plagiarism will lead to failure and even bans. Each NEBOSH IGC OBE question is unique to that scenario given on the exam date. The scenarios are based on a real-time workplace scenario, as the main objective of the NEBOSH Open Book Examination is to ensure and know how the candidate is well versed in using health and safety at the workplace.

Structure of NEBOSH IGC Open Book Examination

NEBOSH Open Book Examination is designed to fetch the knowledge from candidate what they have understood during their studies and not about memorizing the "right answers". The questions contain a real-time scenario issues where the candidate will have to understand what's being asked, analyze the question and the scenario and provide an appropriate answer for that issue and give the best solution to it.

Duration of NEBOSH Open Book Exam

NEBOSH has allotted 24 hours to submit the NEBOSH IGC OBE assessment and candidates can make use of the given time-frame to understand the question, to refer course materials, and provide the appropriate answer.

The NEBOSH IGC OBE starts at 9 A.M. BST, the candidate should be careful with their country’s time and send the answers within 24 hours from 9 A.M. BST.

NEBOSH IGC OBE Closing Interview

Your learning partner will have scheduled you for a closing interview a few days after the examination date. You will have to turn on your camera, have your Identity Card ready and be in a room alone with nothing else with you. The learning provider will brief you before the Closing Interview on what to prepare.

NEBOSH IG2 Practical Report

Unit IG2 is the practical section of the NEBOSH General Certificate. It tests your ability to apply your learning in the real world.

You will be required to produce a risk assessment of your workplace that identifies a range of hazards. The risk assessment must be suitable and sufficient and communicate justified actions for improvement to the relevant people.

Remember for every training, there is always a learning outcome. For NEBOSH IG2 the learning outcome is:

“Do a general risk assessment in your workplace, profiling and prioritising risks, inspecting the workplace, recognising a range of common hazards, evaluating risks and (taking account of current controls), recommending further control measures and planning actions.”

The risk assessment is split into 4 stages:

Description of your organisation and your methodology

Risk assessment and hazard identification

A description of 3 actions with justification

Review, communicate and check

Each stage has a marking criteria which you need to pass. We’ve broken down what’s needed in each stage so you can stay right on track!

The assessment will primarily test your understanding of elements 5-11, but you’ll still need to draw on risk assessment protocols from earlier elements.

Learners always ask how long should it take to complete the NEBOSH General Certificate risk assessment?

You can take as long as you need on although there are recommendations that three or four hours to complete all four stages of the assessment.

There isn’t a numerical mark or grading for the risk assessment, just a pass or referral (fail).

Choosing a workplace

Your risk assessment should be carried out in your own workplace. This will make sure that it’s realistic and will benefit you and your organisation.

Your workplace should be large enough to provide a sufficient range of hazard categories and hazards.

Your learning partner can provide you a suite of documents for your guidance and also a template for the assessment.

Stage 1: Description of Organisation and Methodology

You must use the headed tables in Part 1 of the assessment pack to complete the description of the organisation and the risk assessment methodology used.

Description of organisation

You need to give a clear and concise description of your chosen organisation to make sure the examiner understands what your organisation does. You can change the name and location but everything else should be factual. You also need to think about the scope of the risk assessment. (whole organisation or just a specific department?)

Remember, the NEBOSH examiner may not be familiar with your workplace or industry. You want to give them enough information to judge whether your risk assessment is suitable and sufficient.


After you’ve given the description, you need to outline how you carried out the risk assessment (methodology used). This allows the NEBOSH examiner to evaluate the reliability and validity of your assessment.

You have to make the case for why you did what you did. You should fill in this section after you’ve completed your risk assessment, so you have work to refer to.

For your methodology, you must include:

The sources of information that you consulted

-Who you spoke to.

-How the hazards and controls were identified – the hazards, what is already being done, any additional controls/actions that may be required.

- Anything else that is relevant to the completion of the risk assessment. This may seem like a small section, but if you don’t include it, then you’ll fail.

Stage 2: Risk Assessment

You must use the tables in Part 2 of the assessment pack to complete the risk assessment.

You need to find and record at least 10 different hazards from at least 5 different hazard categories. The hazard categories are the focus of elements 5-11 of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus.

You must include the following details for each hazard to meet the marking criteria:

Stage 3: Prioritise 3 actions with justification

You must use the table in Part 3 of the assessment pack to prioritise your actions and justify your selection. Once you’ve identified all your hazards, you need to pick the 3 that requires the most urgent action.

Your justification must include:

Moral, legal, and financial arguments for ALL actions

You must make the case as to why these actions need to be addressed.

Likelihood and severity

You need to consider the likelihood AND probable severity (taking account of current control measures) of injury, ill-health or harm occurring. You should consider:

Effectiveness of each action (100 to 150 words).

Here, you should detail how effective each action is likely to be in controlling the risk. You should describe:

The intended impact of each action

Justification for the timescale for completion for each action

Whether you think the action will fully control the risk

Each action should be as impactful as the next. If you spend more time justifying one action, and not enough on the other, then you’ll fail.

Stage 4: Review, communicate and check

You must use the tables in Part 4 of the assessment pack to complete the review, communicate and check exercise. It has to have a realistic review date for the risk assessment and why you have chosen that review date.

Also how the risk assessment are to be communicated.

How to submit your assessment

You need to send your completed forms to your learning provider by email before the deadline. They’ll send your assessment off for marking by an examiner appointed by NEBOSH.

What do we think of the New NEBOSH IGC Open Book Examinations?

We think they are great. They provide flexibility to learners to take their exams at their locations without travelling and the time for them to focus.

Also the examinations are more realistic as this is what is expected out of a safety professional in the real world.

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