The NEBOSH Health and Safety at Work Qualification provides a perfect introduction to health and safety in the workplace.

The qualification covers the principles of health and safety rather than specific law. Its focus is on common workplace hazards and how to identify and control them. The qualification includes a practical requirement to carry out a risk assessment.

No prior knowledge is required and the content is relevant wherever you work around the world. This means it is accessible to all. 

There is also the option to tailor content covering specific hazards and risks faced by a company or sector.

Our qualifications are developed based on extensive research with health and safety professionals, employers, professional bodies and regulators to ensure that they remain relevant, rigorous as well as achievable and practical.

You will be assessed on your ability to apply your skills and knowledge to a wide range of issues and how to deliver positive change to a real workplace.

Health and Safety at Work Award

Over 35,000 people have chosen the NEBOSH Health and Safety at Work Qualification to learn the basic principles of workplace health and safety

Over 90% of learners would recommend this qualification to others

Who is it for?


This qualification is for anyone who needs to gain a basic understanding of the principles of workplace health and safety. It's a health and safety qualification for beginners and no prior knowledge of the subject is required.

The qualification may be particularly relevant for:

  • Team leaders and supervisors
  • Facilities managers
  • Anyone wishing to ensure they work safely

It is a perfect introduction to the National and International General Certificates.

The qualification has relevance in the UK and internationally:

  • It covers the principles of health and safety, not UK specific law
  • It can be studied and assessed in multiple languages including:

o English
o Arabic 
o Chinese (Mandarin) 
o Russian
o French
o Spanish (European) 

"Provides a great all-round knowledge of the risk assessment process and encourages the consideration of H&S in all aspects of the job"     
Qualification Survey respondent


This qualification gives you the opportunity to improve your workforce’s understanding of risk control. By raising awareness of common workplace hazards and highlighting ways to control them, you can positively impact the health and safety culture and performance of your organisation.

The qualification can also be tailored to the needs of your company. It is possible to add content to cover specific hazards and risks faced in your company or sector. You can work with an established course provider to add to the content that is specified in the syllabus. Alternatively you may wish to explore the possibility of your organisation achieving accreditation to deliver this qualification.

This is a health and safety qualification for beginners and no prior knowledge of the subject is required. The qualification may be particularly relevant for:

  • Team leaders and supervisors
  • Facilities managers
  • Your team!

It is a perfect introduction for people who you may wish to progress onto the National and International General Certificates.

The qualification has relevance in the UK and internationally:

  • It covers the principles of health and safety, not UK specific law
  • It can be studied and assessed in multiple languages including:

    o English
    o Arabic 
    o Chinese (Mandarin) 
    o Russian
    o French
    o Spanish (European)
"We are delighted to see the positive impact the NEBOSH Health and Safety at Work qualification is having on the health and safety culture within the FA, and of course our people also gain a widely recognised qualification which carries the kudos and status associated with the NEBOSH name. It’s a real win-win.”
Graham Losh, Group Occupational Health & Safety Manager, The FA Group 

What you will learn

What does the course cover?

This three-day qualification covers the basic health and safety principles and practices essential in the workplace. These include:  

  • Understanding risk assessments and control strategies;
  • Applying these control strategies to a number of common workplace hazards, including fire, electrical, transport and manual handling.                 

A practical risk assessment gives you the opportunity to put into practice the knowledge gained during the course.        

The qualification is divided into two units:

  • Unit HSW1: Workplace safety foundations
  • Unit HSW2: Risk assessment activity

The syllabus is mapped to the Health and Safety (PROHSS) units.

Further details can be found in the syllabus guide which can be downloaded in the Resources section below. 

The syllabus is mapped to the Health and Safety (PROHSS) units. This is maintained on a database which is managed by Skills Development Scotland 


How is the qualification assessed?

Students are assessed by a multiple choice examination and a practical risk assessment. Each assessment tests your understanding of the course and the risk assessment tests your ability to put this into practice.

Students need to be proficient in the language in which they study and complete their assessments.

A qualification parchment is issued following successful completion of the two units.


Entry requirements and exemptions

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification, which provides a useful introduction to health and safety. However, it is important that learners are able to understand and articulate the concepts contained in the syllabus in the language that the course delivery and assessment will be completed in.

NEBOSH recommends that learners undertaking this qualification in English should reach a minimum standard of English equivalent to an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 5.0 or higher in IELTS tests.

For further information please consult the IELTS website.

A chart mapping IELTS scores to the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR) can be found on the British Council and IELTS websites:


NEBOSH Health and Safety at Work (HSW) consists of two units; HSW1 and HSW2. 

Exemptions available for Unit HSW1 from:

You will not normally need to complete HSW1 if you hold the Award in Health, Safety and Environment in the Process Industries - mark achieved for Unit HSEP1.

Important information regarding exemptions:

  • Exemption for Unit HSEP1 is normally valid for 2 years from the declaration date.
  • The declaration date is the date printed on the unit certificate.
  • Exemption qualifying period - the examination date for the last unit of the new qualification must be within 2 years of the declaration date of the unit being used as an exemption. 

How to study

Choosing a Learning Partner

Every learner must register with a NEBOSH accredited Learning Partner and undertake the relevant learning before taking an assessment and gaining a qualification. It is not possible to self-study for a NEBOSH qualification. 

Our global network of Learning Partners provide excellent learning and support and will help you prepare for your assessments. You can search for Learning Partners in our Where to Study section, and can filter the results by multiple factors, such as location and mode of study.

You should ensure that the Learning Partner you choose offers the qualification in the way you want to study. We recommend that you explore your options before selecting a Learning Partner as it is an important personal choice.

The factors you may wish to consider include:

  • Mode of Study – Options available include face to face, distance learning, in-company training and eLearning. Has one method of learning been more effective for you in the past?
  • Course Structure – If you opt for classroom training, would you prefer day or evening classes, block release or a modular course?
  • Location – Being able to study and sit your examinations locally may be an important consideration for you. NEBOSH examinations are taken in over 130 countries.
  • On-going support – Will the support provided during your course and in the run up to your assessments match your expectations?

Find a Learning Partner


Each Learning Partner sets their own fees to reflect the service offered. We recommend you contact a number of Learning Partners to establish what their fees are and what is included in the fee. Costs can vary depending on the mode of study, the level of support given, and the inclusion of examination registration fees, for example. 

Read more about our Learning Partner Programme and how to choose the right Learning Partner for you: Choosing a NEBOSH Learning Partner.

What does it cost and how long does it take?

Course fees are determined by individual learning partners and vary depending on the format of the course.

The required teaching time for this qualification is 18 hours. It is recommended that you also complete 6 hours private study. Each learning partner will decide how to deliver the required content, so the structure and format of courses will vary.

Details of learning partners accredited to offer this qualification are available in the Where to Study section.

Professional recognition and SQA accreditation

Maintaining professional standards

In the UK – and, increasingly, worldwide – regulatory accreditation is recognised as a badge of quality, allowing our qualifications to retain their highly regarded professional status.

UK accredited qualifications provide you with certain guarantees that the qualification:

  • Meets specific quality criteria that ensure it is fit for its purpose
  • Includes relevant content
  • Uses appropriate assessment methodology
  • Is mapped to relevant National Occupational Standards (NOS)
  • Is supported by relevant stakeholders including employers

The NEBOSH Health and Safety at Work qualification has been accredited and credit rated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) Accreditation.  It sits in the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) at SCQF Level 5 with 3 SCQF credit points.

SCQF Level 5 is comparable to RQF/CQFW Level 2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

See the Qualifications Can Cross Boundaries chart issued by the UK regulators.

For UK learners, the SQA Accreditation logo will appear on certificates awarded for this qualification. The SCQF logo, credit and level information will appear on the result transcript. Please click here for further information on SCQF credit and levels.

Valued by Employers

NEBOSH qualifications can play an important part in ensuring that the health and safety provision businesses have in place is effective.  This may explain why so many organisations choose to include NEBOSH qualifications on their competency matrices. 


Examination registration

Learners must be registered before they can take an examination. All examination registrations must be completed by an accredited learning partner.

Examination entry confirmation

Once your learning partner has registered you to an examination, they will send you an Examination Entry Confirmation that includes your learner number, and important information relating to your examination and results process. Please ensure that you check your name is spelt correctly and report this to your learning partner and NEBOSH if any changes are required.

The Examination Entry Confirmation is essential to gain entry to the examination room, you will need to show a form of photographic identification to the invigilator and then sign the Examination Entry Confirmation. Please contact your learning partner if you have not received your Examination Entry Confirmation.

Examination dates

HSW1 invigilated multiple-choice exam.
Exam dates will be decided and arranged by Learning Partners. Please speak to your Learning Partner for the next available date and to register. 

Examination Results

You will receive your results within 24 working days of sitting the examination. Once you have achieved a pass a qualification parchment will be issued. This is normally within 20 working days of the confirmation of the successful unit.

What next?

The qualification provides a useful introduction to health and safety. If you want to progress after completing it, good options would be:

  • NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety
  • NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

Both qualifications provide a more extensive and practical understanding of health and safety in the workplace. 

Alternatively, if you want to gain a basic understanding of environmental issues to complement the knowledge obtained from the NEBOSH Health and Safety at Work qualification, you may wish to consider:

  • NEBOSH Environmental Awareness at Work Qualification

The connections between our qualifications are illustrated in more detail in the Qualifications Progression Leaflet found in the Resources section below.


This section provides guidance and useful information in support of this qualification.

If you would like any further information please get in touch through our Contact Us page - our Customer Enquiry Team will be happy to help.

Syllabus Guide

This Qualification Guide contains the detailed syllabus, assessment requirements and example question papers for the NEBOSH Award in Health and Safety at Work Qualification.

Please note that this Guide remains the copyright of NEBOSH. The information in this publication may be reproduced in support of NEBOSH qualifications. If it is reproduced, NEBOSH should be clearly acknowledged as the source. If it is to be used for any other purpose, written permission must be obtained from NEBOSH.

HSW Guide


You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this document - available free of charge from

If you would like any further information, please contact the Customer Services team on 0116 2634700 or email

Guide to the NEBOSH Award in Health and Safety at Work Qualification








Syllabus Summaries

The learning outcomes for the qualification are summarised in these documents and are available in different languages.

Please download the syllabus summary in the language you require. 

HSW2: Health and Safety Practical Application Guidance

Unit HSW2: Risk assessment activity - Guidance and information for course providers and candidates 

This document provides comprehensive guidance on the presentation and submission of the Unit HSW2 practical application. It includes guidance on the structure and style of the report, Declaration and Work Place Risk Assessment. Candidates should study this document carefully before submitting their practical application.

The guidance should be read carefully in conjunction with the practical application mark scheme, which is attached at the end of this guidance document, to provide a clear guide to the requirements of the practical application. 


Policies and Procedures

View all of our Policies and Procedures by clicking here.

NEBOSH Health and Safety at Work Course Book

HSW Book Cover

Health and Safety at Work Course Book 

Health and Safety at Work follows the syllabus for NEBOSH’s Award in Health and Safety at Work, and provides the knowledge you need to help you gain the qualification.

See extract  (Edition 2 - January 2017)





The book also contains activities and case studies to illustrate the areas covered by the syllabus. It can be used as part of your studies during a taught course or as a study aid for e-learning, distance learning and revision sessions. 

The information is also valuable as a reference source for those putting health and safety principles into practice at work, for example when identifying hazards and risks within the workplace.

This 130-page book is suitable for those studying both the February 2010 syllabus and the revised July 2016 syllabus, as it covers all the content for both versions. It is available to buy online with a discount available for orders of 20 or more.


  • The foundations of health and safety
  • The responsibility for health and safety
  • Health and safety risk assessment and control
  • Hazards and controls associated with work equipment
  • Transport safety
  • Hazards and controls associated with working with electricity
  • Fire safety
  • Hazards and controls associated with manual handling and repetitive movement
  • Hazards and controls associated with hazardous substances
  • Hazards and control associated with the working environment
  • Workplace risk assessment activity

Learner Terms and Conditions

Please see our Learner Terms and Conditions below.

Learner Fees List

The NEBOSH Learner Fees List for 1 December 2020 onwards is available to download:

Learner Fees List

Please note that these are the fees that NEBOSH charges. Some Learning Partners may incorporate these fees within the overall fee you have paid to them. 

For further information please contact your chosen Learning Partner or contact us.

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