Important notice: The information below applies to the 2014 syllabus for the NEBOSH National General Certificate.

New learners will not be able to enrol for this specification and should view the updated qualification page: View the current syllabus

Existing learners will have until 21 July 2023 to complete the qualification.

The NEBOSH National General Certificate is the most popular and recognised health and safety qualification of its kind. First introduced in 1989, it is held by more than 190,000 people.

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 covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK.

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

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 ability to deliver positive change to a real workplace.

National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

“We opted for the NEBOSH National General Certificate because it offered an industry leading approach to competence management.”

Karl Simons, Chief Health, Safety & Security Officer at Thames Water

200,000 learners hold the NEBOSH National General Certificate, making it one of the most widely recognised safety and health qualifications in the world

9/10 learners told us the NEBOSH National General Certificate was the only qualification they considered appropriate for their goals


Who is it for? 


This qualification is for anyone who needs to gain a sound understanding of the principles of workplace health and safety. It also covers UK specific health and safety law.

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

The National General Certificate is 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.

“Not only did my National General Certificate fill in so many blanks as far as my knowledge was concerned, the qualifications gave me so much confidence and helped me, and still does help me almost every day, to demonstrate my competence.”   
Victoria Casey, Risk Consultant, Aviva


The National 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 National General Certificate is a qualification that leads to safer workplaces.

People who hold the National General Certificate will understand organisation’s legal requirements, will know how to reduce absence costs and loss of reputation from health and safety incidents, in whatever industry they operate. Employing people who hold a NEBOSH qualification demonstrates a commitment to health and safety and an assurance to others. It can even help you achieve recognised standards and win new business.

The National General Certificate is for anyone who needs to gain a sound understanding of the principles of workplace health and safety. It covers the principles of health and safety according to UK specific law.

"We chose NEBOSH because it is recognised globally and that has made it an easy sell for us, in terms of saying ‘why wouldn’t you take this course?’. It’s intense, as our managers have discovered, but it is certainly worth the effort, both for them and for Thames Water.” 
Karl Simons, Thames Water Head of Health, Safety, Security and Well-being Director


What you will learn

What does the course cover?

The National General Certificate covers how health and safety can be effectively managed, the main legal requirements for health and safety in UK, identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge.  Crucially, the practical element of the course requires learners complete a health and safety inspection of their workplace before producing a management report outlining inspection findings and recommendations.

The key topics covered by the qualification are:

  • The key legal requirements for managing health and safety at work
  • 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. Learners 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: 

  • NGC1: Management of health and safety 
  • GC2: Controlling 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 below.

How is the qualification assessed

Assessment is a three-step process:

  • NGC1 - 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.
  • 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 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 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.

Learners wishing to assess their own language expertise may consult the IELTS FAQ page for information on taking the test.


Exemptions are available for Unit NGC1 from:

  • National Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management - mark achieved for Unit NGC1
  • National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety - mark achieved for Unit NGC1
  • National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety - capped at 45%. See our FAQ's for more information on this.

Exemptions available for Unit GC2 from:

  • International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety - mark achieved for Unit GC2 or IGC2

Exemptions available for Unit GC3 from:

  • International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety - mark achieved for Unit GC3 or IGC3

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

New learners can no longer be registered for the 2014 specification. Please see the current National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety for more information. 

If you are an existing learner (this means you have been registered for at least one unit of the 2014 specifications, and the unit status must be either studying, absent, Pass or Refer) you have until July 2023 to complete the qualification. Please speak to your Learning Partner to discuss your options and register. Alternatively, you can use our Where to Study search to find a Learning Partner offering this qualification, Find a Learning Partner, or Contact Us for further support. 

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 National 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 National 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 digital assessments

Once your learning partner has registered you to a digital assessment, NEBOSH will send you a Confirmation of Registration email that includes your learner number, and important information relating to your assessment. 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

Following receipt of your Confirmation of Registration email for your digital assessment, 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

NGC1 - The invigilated paper-based exam has been permanently replaced with a digital assessment. Learners will have 24 hours to access, complete and submit their paper, starting from 11am (UK time) on the examination date. 

We have confirmed the following dates for NGC1 assessments. 

Unit Examination date Results notification date
NGC1 01 December 2021 18 February 2022
NGC1 02 February 2022 13 April 2022
NGC1 02 March 2022 16 May 2022
NGC1 06 April 2022 22 June 2022
NGC1 04 May 2022 15 July 2022
NGC1 08 June 2022 17 August 2022
NGC1 06 July 2022 15 September 2022
NGC1 03 August 2022 13 October 2022
NGC1 07 September 2022 16 November 2022
NGC1 05 October 2022 14 December 2022
NGC1 02 November 2022 20 January 2023
NGC1 07 December 2022 24 February 2023
NGC1 18 January 2023 29 march 2023
NGC1 08 February 2023 21 April 2023
NGC1 08 March 2023 22 May 2023
NGC1 05 April 2023 20 June 2023
NGC1 03 May 2023 13 July 2023
NGC1 07 June 2023 16 August 2023
NGC1 05 July 2023 14 September 2023


Find out more about digital assessments for certificate qualifications.

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?

Many who pass their NEBOSH National General Certificate go on to take another more specialist certificate-level qualification, such as Health and Safety Management for Construction or the NEBOSH Certificate in Fire Safety.

In addition, many who pass also go on to seek professional recognition as per the 'Professional Recognition and SQA Accreditation' section.

Many who hold a NEBOSH National General Certificate, particularly those seeking a professional career in health safety and environmental management, progress onwards to take a NEBOSH Diploma level qualification. While successful completion of one of our certificates is not mandatory in order to enrol on a NEBOSH Diploma, it is strongly recommended given that our Diploma syllabuses assume knowledge equivalent to having undertaken such a programme of study. 

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 National General Certificate.

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.

NGC OHC 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

NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety Syllabus Guide.





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:

21 July 2023

* 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 is available to download:

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.