Important notice: The information below applies to the 2014 syllabus for the NEBOSH International General Certificate. New learners will not be able to enrol for this specification and should view the updated qualification page: View the current syllabus

The NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety is one of the most popular and recognised health and safety qualification of its kind in the world, first introduced in 2005 it is held by more than 80,000 people worldwide. Each year, more people take the NEBOSH International General Certificate than any other NEBOSH qualification. 

Holders of this accredited qualification are able to identify, evaluate and control a wide range of workplace hazards. The qualification encourages a pragmatic approach to managing risk and the content can be applied in workplaces anywhere in the world.  

It is widely used throughout the world by people who seek recognition for their health and safety skills and knowledge. 

Globally, employers find that the International General Certificate can improve the safety culture of their organisation by providing line management and staff with a sound understanding of the principles of risk management.

The qualification is available in several languages including English, Arabic, Russian, Turkish, Portuguese, Spanish and French.

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

IGC in Occupational Health and Safety

“I have got a clearer picture of hazards and worksite problems at a practical and management level.”

Nithin Pavithran, HSE Officer at Qatar Engineering & Construction Company

80,000 learners hold the NEBOSH International General Certificate

Nearly 20% of successful learners moved into a safety role as a result of achieving the NEBOSH International General Certificate


 Who is it for?


This qualification is for anyone who needs to gain a sound understanding of the principles of workplace health and safety, wherever in the world they may work.

For some, the International General Certificate is a crucial first step towards establishing a lifelong professional career in occupational health and safety. Many who take their International General Certificate progress on to one of our Diploma-level qualifications. Interestingly, a significant proportion of people who hold their International General Certificate are employed in roles whose primary function is not health and safety based.

The International General Certificate is now commonly seen as a very useful qualification for managers, supervisors and those who need to have a sound understanding of their health and safety responsibilities and who wish to implement sustainable health and safety improvements. 

My NEBOSH International General Certificate changed everything! Shortly after completing the certificate, I was hired for my NEBOSH qualification, not for my degree, so it turned out to be a life changing decision.” 
Maisaa Nasrallah


The International General Certificate is used by many organisations to improve the health and safety skills and knowledge of managers, supervisors and staff in order to gain sustainable health and safety improvements. Quite simply, the International General Certificate is a qualification that leads to safer workplaces.

People who hold the International General Certificate know how to reduce incidents, absence costs and loss of reputation from health and safety issues in whatever industry or country they operate. NEBOSH qualifications are held in high esteem throughout the world. Employing people who hold a NEBOSH qualification demonstrates a commitment to health and safety and provides assurance to others. It can even help you achieve recognised standards and win new business.

The International General Certificate is for anyone who needs to gain a sound understanding of the principles of workplace health and safety. It is based around best practice and international standards, such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) codes of practice.


What you will learn 

What does the course cover?

The International General Certificate covers the principles relating to health and safety, identification and control of workplace hazards and the practical application of this knowledge. Local laws and cultural factors may form part of the study programme where relevant and appropriate. Crucially, the practical element of the course requires learners to complete a health and safety inspection of their workplace and complete a report to management regarding the inspection with recommendations.

The key topics covered by the qualification are:

  • The importance of and key elements of health and safety management systems
  • Principles and practice of risk assessment
  • The identification of workplace hazards such as those associated with general workplace issues, fire, electricity etc.
  • Methods for controlling identified workplace hazards

No previous health and safety knowledge is required. Learnerss should note that the assessment includes a requirement to write a short report.

The qualification is divided into three units, each of which is assessed separately: 

  • IGC1: Management of international health and safety
  • GC2: Control of workplace hazards
  • GC3: Health and safety practical application

The syllabus is mapped to the National Occupational Standards for Health and Safety. These are maintained on a database which is managed by Skills Development Scotland 

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

The International General Certificate can be studied and assessed in multiple languages including:

  • English
  • Arabic
  • Russian
  • Turkish
  • Portuguese (European) 
  • Spanish (European)
  • French

How is the qualification assessed?

Assessment is a three-step process:

  • IGC1 - An open book examination to assess what you know. This is scenario based and will include a closing interview, you will be asked questions about your submission.
    (Please note that the open book examination is only available in English. Additional languages are in development and will be released later in the year.)
  • GC2 – A paper-based two hour written examination. This examination consists of ten ‘short-answer’ questions and one ‘long-answer’ question.

Assessments are marked by external examiners appointed by NEBOSH. These examiners are chosen for their experience and expertise to ensure that learners are assessed by the very best from our industry.

  • GC3 - Assessed by one two-hour practical examination carried out in the learner’s own workplace (2 hours). 
    The aim of this unit is to assess your ability to complete a safety inspection of your workplace and prepare a report to management with recommendations and improvements.  The assessment must normally be taken within 10 working days of a written examination. The practical examination is internally assessed by your course provider and externally moderated by NEBOSH.

Our unit based approach

Our unit-based approach allows you to achieve new qualifications without having to study or be assessed on topics that you have already passed.

Some of our Certificate-level qualifications include ‘common units’. For example, Unit NGC1 forms part of our National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety, and also part of the National Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management and the National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety.

If you have already passed unit NGC1 as part of your previous studies you will not be required to pass NGC1 again when studying for another certificate qualification it features in, provided that the declaration date (the date printed on your unit certificate) is within five years of the examination date for the new qualification. 

This applies to all Certificate-level qualifications with common units, and also in some cases across our national and international variants. See Exemptions below for further information.

Common units honeycomb


Entry requirements and exemptions 

Entry requirements

There are no entry requirements for this qualification. 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.

Whenever taken in English, NEBOSH recommends that learners should reach a minimum standard of English equivalent to an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.0 or higher in IELTS tests.

For further information please see the latest version of the IELTS Handbook or 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 at:

Learners wishing to assess their own language expertise may consult the IELTS website for information on taking the test:


The International General Certificate consists of three units: IGC1, GC2 and GC3.

Exemptions are available for Unit IGC1 from:

  • International Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management - mark achieved for Unit IGC1
  • International Certificate in Construction Health and Safety - mark achieved for Unit IGC1
  • Unit IA of the International Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety – capped at 45%. See the FAQ's for more information on this.

Exemptions available for Unit GC2 from:

  • National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety - mark achieved for Unit GC2 or NGC2

Exemptions available for Unit GC3 from:

  • National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety - mark achieved for Unit GC3 or NGC3

However, you will need to have passed the above qualifications within the last five years. The five years start from the results declaration of your first successful unit or qualification. 

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. 

For this qualification you should plan your study around a minimum of 80 taught hours and approximately 53 hours of private study and background reading.

Further information on taught hours can be found in the syllabus located in the Resources section below.

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 International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety 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 6 with 15 SCQF credit points.

SCQF Level 6 is comparable to RQF/CQFW Level 3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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

Where appropriate, the SQA Accreditation logo will appear on certificates awarded for this qualification. The SCQF logo, credit and level information will appear on the unit result notification. 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. 

Professional body recognition

Holders of the NEBOSH International General Certificate are entitled to:

  • Associate Membership (AIOSH) of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). The qualification also meets the academic requirements for Technical Membership (Tech IOSH) of IOSH.
  • Associate Membership (AIIRSM) of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM).




Confirmation of registration for open book examinations

Once your learning partner has registered you to an open book examination (OBE), NEBOSH will send you a Confirmation of Registration email that includes your learner number, and important information relating to your OBE. Please ensure that you check your name is spelt correctly and report this to your learning partner and NEBOSH if any changes are required. If you have not received this email please remember to check your spam folders.

Login details for open book examinations

Following receipt of your Confirmation of Registration email for your OBE, NEBOSH will send you a further email containing your Username and Password for the NEBOSH online examination platform. If you have not received this email please remember to check your spam folders.

Examination dates

Standard examination sittings are held four times a year in March, June, September and December as below.

Many of our learning partners may also offer on demand examinations, set and marked by NEBOSH, but held on a date chosen by the learning partner. You should contact your chosen learning partner for more information. 

IGC1 - The invigilated paper-based exam is being permanently replaced by a new open book examination (OBE).

We have confirmed the following dates for OBEs in 2021:

  • Wednesday 09 June 2021
  • Wednesday 04 August 2021
  • Wednesday 06 October 2021
  • Wednesday 01 December 2021
  • Wednesday 02 February 2022 (English only)
  • Wednesday 02 March 2022
The IGC1 OBE is available in English, Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Russian, Spanish (European) and Turkish.

Find out more about OBEs.

GC2 - Invigilated paper-based 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.  

GC3 - The practical unit GC3 will continue to be assessed as usual, please speak to your Learning Partner for further information.

Examination Results 

All results for assessments taken in English (including those for the practical application) should be received within 50 working days from the date of the examination or submission of assignment.  The specific date is written on your examination entry confirmation.

For assessments taken in any language other than English, all results (including those for the practical application) should be received within 70 working days.

Certificate-level practical assessments must normally be taken within 10 working days of a written examination, so the practical result will be included with the result for the written examination. 

What next?

Due to our unit based approach, many who pass their NEBOSH International General Certificate go on to take another more specialist Certificate level qualification, such as the International Certificate in Construction Health and Safety or the International Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management.

In addition, many who pass also go on to seek professional recognition. Further information can be found in the Professional Recognition and SQA Accreditation section.

Many who hold a NEBOSH International General Certificate, particularly those seeking a professional career in health safety and environmental management, progress onwards to take a NEBOSH Diploma-level qualification. Whilst successful completion of one of our Certificates is not mandatory in order to enrol on a NEBOSH Diploma, it is strongly recommended.

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 International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety.

Please note that the Guide is only available in English. Syllabus summaries in other languages can be found in the Syllabus Summaries section.

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.

IGC OH&S Syllabus Guide

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read these 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 International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety (November 2014)








Syllabus Summaries

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

Please click on the link below to access the document in the language you require.

Open Book Examinations

NEBOSH has introduced digital assessments for a number of certificate-level qualifications. All new or updated assessments will maintain the rigour and recognition people expect from a NEBOSH qualification. 

We have put together more information and resources for our digital assessments, including guidance to help you prepare, sample papers, and answers to frequently asked questions:

Find out more 

GC3: Health and Safety Practical Application

Unit GC3: Health and Safety Practical Application - Guidance and Information for Course Providers and Candidates

This document provides comprehensive guidance on the presentation and submission of the Unit GC3 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.


Portuguese (European)
Spanish (European)

NG/IG Transitional Arrangements and FAQs

Launch date of the NG and IG (October 2018 specification).  Assessments can be booked from this date:

30 September 2019

First assessments for October 2018 specification from:

11 November 2019

Last date that new learners* can be registered to the November 2014 specification:

29 February 2020

New learner registrations to the October 2018 specification only from:

1 March 2020

November 2014 specifications – registrations for existing learners** only from:

1 March 2020

Last assessment date for the November 2014 specification:

31 March 2022

* A new learner is classed as a person who has not been registered for an assessment of the November 2014 specification. 

** An existing learner is a person who has been registered for at least one unit of the 2014 specifications (status must be either studying, absent, Pass or Refer). 



National General Certificate Learners
National General Certificate Learning Partners
International General Certificate Learners
International General Certificate Learning Partners

Examiners' Reports

Examiners' Reports are available for Certificate-level qualifications and are free to download for both learners and Learning Partners (see below).

These reports include:

  • Questions used in the papers (strengths and weaknesses of candidate responses to each question with examples of good and more limited responses)
  • Some examples of what Examiners were expecting, particularly for those questions that candidates found most challenging
  • Information and guidance on examination technique and command words

The reports will not include mark schemes or sample answers and should be used by learners and Learning Partners to inform both tuition and revision sessions.


March 2020
September 2019
March 2019
September 2018
March 2018


Learners and Learning Partners will also benefit from using the appropriate syllabus guide, which can be downloaded from the resources section of each qualification web page. In particular, the guide sets out in detail the syllabus content and tutor reference documents for each element.

Additional guidance on command words is provided in ‘Guidance on command words used in learning outcomes and question papers’ which is also available in the Resources section below.

If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Enquiry Team; Contact us.

Guidance on Command Words

NEBOSH Command Words

NEBOSH has prepared “Guidance on command words and question papers” for Certificate and Diploma-level qualifications. This document is available to download below.

This guidance provides:
  • A concise definition of each command word used on NEBOSH Certificate and Diploma-level question papers
  • Example responses both to everyday scenarios and typical Certificate and Diploma-level questions

If you require any further information please contact us.


Guidance on command words - Certificate (English)

Guidance on command words - Certificate (French)

Guidance on command words - Certificate (Portuguese unified)

Guidance on command words - Certificate (Russian)

Guidance on command words - Certificate (Arabic)

Guidance on command words - Certificate (Turkish)

Guidance on command words - Certificate (European Spanish)


Guidance on command words - Diploma

Policies and Procedures

View all of our Policies and Procedures by clicking here.

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.