NEBOSH has worked with Great Britain’s Health and Safety Regulator, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to develop a one-day health and safety qualification for senior business leaders and anyone aspiring to this role.

The NEBOSH HSE Certificate in Health and Safety Leadership Excellence is interactive and thought provoking. The course content highlights the moral, legal and business reasons for good health and safety leadership, and offers guidance on the key areas to focus on to achieve it.

Who is it for?


Employers will gain a number of benefits from giving their business leaders the opportunity to take this qualification, including:

  • Leadership that reflects the HSE’s model of effective health and safety leadership,
  • Health and safety will be factored into business decisions in the future,
  • Leaders who recognise how their own behaviour's impact on health and safety culture.


This qualification is for senior business leaders or anyone who aspires to this role in the future.

It will help you become a better health and safety advocate and leader, by highlighting the key areas to focus on to make a difference.

It is relevant for all business leaders working in any sector, anywhere in the world.

“The qualification content was a good mix of health and safety ‘need-to-knows’ and leadership tools to both improve our culture and performance. The assessment was a good way to reflect on the day and develop ideas which leaders can now use in their daily work.” Tom Wike, Head of Health and Safety, The FA Group.

What you will learn

What does the course cover?

The NEBOSH HSE Certificate in Health and Safety Leadership Excellence has been designed to help you become a better advocate of health and safety in your business. The course content covers the following topics:

  • What health and safety leadership means,
  • The moral, legal and business reasons for good health and safety leadership,
  • The links between health and safety leadership and culture,
  • What the different leadership styles are,
  • How human failures can impact performance and culture,
  • The HSE’s model of effective health and safety leadership,
  • How leaders can build effective relationships with the workforce.

You should plan your study around a minimum of 7 taught hours and approximately 3 hours recommended pre-course reading.

How is the qualification assessed?

The assessment will be in the form of reflective statements undertaken throughout the course.

These show how the learner’s knowledge, skill and behaviours may have both positive and negative effects on health and safety performance in their organisation.

Learners will also need to make a commitment to a leadership intervention that will improve health and safety management within their sphere of influence at work.


“For an aspiring leader like me, understanding how my actions and behaviours can affect performance, will only help me to champion health and safety better in the future.”

Neil Fisher, Health and Safety Practitioner, Network Rail

“The qualification content was a good mix of health and safety ‘need-to-knows’ and leadership tools to both improve our culture and performance.”

Tom Wike, Head of Health and Safety, The FA Group.

A one-day qualification to help leaders better influence health and safety performance

Developed in collaboration with Great Britain’s regulator, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Entry requirements and exemptions

Entry requirements

There are no specific entry requirements but it is important that learners have a suitable standard of English language in order to understand and articulate the concepts contained in the syllabus.

NEBOSH recommends that learners undertaking this qualification 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 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:

Learners wishing to assess their own language expertise may consult the IELTS website for information on taking the test. Your chosen Learning Partner may also be able to recommend a method of pre-learning assessment of language. 


No exemptions are allowed for Unit HSL1.

Where 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 e-learning. 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?



Course fees are determined by individual Learning Partners and vary depending on the format of the course. 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.

Professional Recognition and 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 HSE Certificate in Health and Safety Leadership Excellence has been credit and levelled at Level 6 on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) under SQA Awarding. This 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.

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 is one reason why so many organisations choose to include NEBOSH qualifications on their competency matrices. 


Your chosen Learning Partner will register you for the assessment, which will be completed alongside the learning on the course


You will receive your results within 24 working days of sitting the assessment. 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?

If this is your first NEBOSH Certificate-level qualification, you may be interested in taking another NEBOSH Certificate qualification, such as the NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety or the NEBOSH Certificate in Fire Safety. View all NEBOSH Qualifications.

The connections between our qualifications are illustrated in our qualification progression leaflet in the resources 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 HSE Certificate in Health and Safety Leadership Excellence.

Download the Leaflet

Health and Safety Leadership Excellence Course Book

HSL course book thumbnail

Health and Safety Leadership Excellence (Edition 2) follows the syllabus for the NEBOSH HSE Health and Safety Leadership Excellence qualification. It provides the knowledge you need to help you gain the qualification.

Download the course book extract

The book contains practical activities and examples/case studies and gives definitions for key terminology. It can be used as part of your studies during a taught course or as a study aid for e-learning and distance learning.

Health and Safety Leadership Excellence should help health and safety leaders understand their responsibilities (moral, legal and financial) and their leadership style, as well as giving pointers on building relationships with the workforce. NEBOSH hopes the book will also become a valuable reference source once the leader is back in the workplace.

Learners studying this qualification may receive a copy from their Learning Partner.

Unit HSL1: Health and Safety Leadership

Below you will find comprehensive guidance on the presentation and submission of the Unit HSL1 assessment.

The guidance should be read carefully in conjunction with the leadership values reflective record templates, which are attached at the end of this guidance document, to provide a clear guide to the requirements of the reflective assessment.

Policies, terms and fees

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