The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH ( NEE-bosh)) is a UK-based examination board offering qualifications and courses in health, safety, environment and well-being management.
It was founded in 1979 and has charitable status. It offers a range of qualifications and courses from introductory to professional level. Around 400,000 people worldwide held a NEBOSH qualification as of 2019. Qualifications and courses are delivered by NEBOSH’s network of approximately 600 accredited Learning Partners, which are located in countries around the world.
NEBOSH qualifications are recognised by relevant professional membership bodies including the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM). In 2014 NEBOSH received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Outstanding Achievement in International Trade.
In 1974, the Health and Safety at Work Act laid down general principles for the management of health and safety at work in Britain. This legislation, together with the establishment of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Health and Safety Commission (HSC) (now merged), led to more emphasis being placed on occupational safety and health by UK employers from the mid-1970s onwards. As a result, the role of the health and safety officer and health and safety manager became more widespread in British workplaces.
To meet a need for the provision of vocational qualifications in the area of occupational safety and health, NEBOSH was established in September 1979, operating from the offices of IOSH in Leicester.
At the time, the NEBOSH board, led by founding chairman Professor Richard Booth, set out its primary objective: “To improve the quality & quantity of people with vocational qualifications in Occupational Safety and Health“.
The first NEBOSH Associate level and Member level examinations took place in June 1980. Candidates sat five papers; Law; Behavioural Science; Techniques of Safety Management; Occupational Health & Hygiene and General Science.
By October 1981 membership of the NEBOSH board had grown and included representatives from IOSH, UK government departments, various teaching establishments and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). Recognition of NEBOSH qualifications also began to grow around this time. In June 1982, 140 people registered for their NEBOSH Ordinary level certificate and 84 for the Higher level certificate. By 1986, NEBOSH had increased the number of annual examination sessions from two to three.
In February 1987 NEBOSH introduced a new qualification structure, which included a certificate and a diploma. In 1988 the diploma level qualification was changed to feature four 3-hour exams and completion of a case study. Candidates scoring over 75% achieved a distinction.
In the early 1990s, NEBOSH began to formally separate itself from IOSH. In March 1992, NEBOSH incorporated as a limited company with Companies House. In April 1992, NEBOSH registered as a charity with the Charity Commission and appointed its first chief executive, Martin Shuttleworth, two months later.
In December 1992 the NEBOSH Specialist Environmental Diploma was launched, followed shortly by the NEBOSH Construction Certificate. In June 1997 NEBOSH introduced a “credit mark” to demonstrate a high score in an exam – sitting just below a “distinction.” The two-part diploma was introduced in June 1998.
NEBOSH moved its offices to Meridian Business Park, Leicester in 1999.
Stephen Vickers took up the position of NEBOSH Chief Executive in April 2000. Six months later the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) – now The Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual) accredited NEBOSH as an awarding body. In March 2001, designatory letters were introduced for holders of NEBOSH higher level awards.
In September 2001, almost 22 years after the formation of NEBOSH, Dolores Lavander of West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) became the 50,000th NEBOSH examination candidate. A presentation to mark the occasion was held at WMFS headquarters.
Two new qualifications, the NEBOSH Fire Certificate and NEBOSH International General Certificate were launched in March 2005.
Teresa Budworth took up the role of Chief Executive in March 2006. Two months later the first NEBOSH graduation ceremony took place at the University of Warwick. A further landmark was achieved in June 2006 when the 100,000th NEBOSH General Certificate was awarded to David Marsh.
In October 2006, NEBOSH moved offices to its current location of 5 Dominus Way, Meridian Business Park, Leicester. The new building was formally opened by the then Secretary of State for Health, Patricia Hewitt.
The NEBOSH Specialist Environmental Diploma was revised and renamed the NEBOSH Diploma in Environmental Management in September 2008.
In 2009, NEBOSH introduced two new qualifications – the NEBOSH International Diploma and the NEBOSH Environmental Certificate. In 2010, four more qualifications were launched – the NEBOSH Award in Health and Safety at Work, the NEBOSH Health and Well-being Certificate, the NEBOSH International Construction Certificate and the NEBOSH International Technical Certificate in Oil and Gas Operational Safety.
In 2011 NEBOSH as well as other UK and international professional bodies developed the scheme for the Occupational Safety & Health Consultants Register (OSHCR), a scheme which provides a centrally held register of qualified health and safety consultants for businesses and employers to easily find and hire for their own places of work.
In 2014, NEBOSH began offering a research-based master’s degree jointly with the University of Hull, with the first degrees awarded in 2015. In 2015 a taught master’s degree was developed with options to focus on one or more of the disciplines of occupational health, safety and environmental management.
In 2014, NEBOSH began working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to offer a postgraduate-level qualification to new HSE Inspectors responsible for enforcement of safety law in the UK.
NEBOSH continued to develop its portfolio of qualifications. As of 2020, NEBOSH offers 21 qualifications and one course (Safety Simplified). Its qualifications include those developed in partnership with the HSE and the University of Hull.
In 2018, Ian Taylor joined NEBOSH as Chief Executive. In 2020 David Morgan, a NEBOSH trustee, took up the position of Interim Chief Executive. In September 2020 Les Philpott was elected Chair of the NEBOSH Board, having joined the board in 2017 and in November 2020 Dr. Chris Payne was appointed permanent Chief Executive Officer to lead the organisation into a new era.
On 6 August, amidst the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic, NEBOSH introduced open book examinations for the first time, marking the start of a transformation programme to introduce the latest assessment technology and enable learners to stay safe during the examination process.
Qualifications and courses
There are four categories of NEBOSH qualification: award, certificate, diploma and master’s degree. In 2019 NEBOSH launched its first course. 
A course provides introductory level awareness to health and safety practices.
Award-level qualifications provide general understanding of health and safety principles and practice, they are a useful introduction to higher level qualifications.
- NEBOSH Health and Safety at Work Qualification
- NEBOSH Environmental Awareness at Work Qualification
- NEBOSH Health, Safety and Environment in the Process Industries Qualification
- NEBOSH HSE Introduction to Incident Investigation
Certificate-level qualifications are an foundation for managers, supervisors and people at the start of a career in health and safety.
- NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety
- NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety
- NEBOSH National Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management
- NEBOSH National Certificate in the Management of Health and Well-being at Work
- NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management
- NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety
- NEBOSH International Certificate in Construction Health and Safety
- NEBOSH International Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management
- NEBOSH International Technical Certificate in Oil and Gas Operational Safety
- NEBOSH HSE Certificate in Process Safety Management
- NEBOSH HSE Certificate in Health and Safety Leadership Excellence.
Diploma level qualifications demonstrate professional knowledge of the subjects covered
- NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety
- NEBOSH International Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety
- NEBOSH National Diploma in Environmental Management
- NEBOSH International Diploma in Environmental Management
Masters degrees offered in partnership with the University of Hull demonstrate higher-order learning.
NEBOSH offers three separate Master of Research (MRes) degrees in partnership with the University of Hull:
- MRes in Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Management
- MRes in Occupational Health and Safety Management
- MRes in Environmental Management
NEBOSH offers three separate Master of Science (MSc) degrees in partnership with the University of Hull:
- MSc in Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Management
- MSc in Occupational Health and Safety Management
- MSc in Environmental Management
Accredited Learning Partners
There are more than 600 organisations worldwide delivering NEBOSH qualifications and courses.
NEBOSH Learning Partners must be accredited by NEBOSH. Accreditation is required for each separate qualification. The accreditation process ensures course providers have procedures and resources in place to deliver training programmes of a standard required by NEBOSH and to maintain the integrity of the assessment process.
Accredited NEBOSH Learning Partners not only deliver qualifications, but organise exam sittings for candidates. Accredited Learning Partners include educational establishments, commercial training and consultancy providers and large employers.
NEBOSH is recognised for its qualifications, which have been taken in more than 130 countries throughout the world. It has developed five international qualifications: NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety, NEBOSH International Certificate in Construction Health and Safety, NEBOSH International Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management, NEBOSH International Technical Certificate in Oil and Gas Operational Safety, and NEBOSH International Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety.
As of 2020, the NEBOSH International Certificate is available in Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish.
Graduation ceremony and annual awards
Since 2006, candidates achieving a NEBOSH Diploma or Masters-level qualification have been invited to attend an annual graduation ceremony, which was regularly held at the University of Warwick. In June 2018, almost 800 guests attended this event to see Diplomates receive their diplomas, including 100 HSE inspectors.
Best Candidate awards are also presented at the annual ceremony to candidates achieving highest marks in the year for all certificate-level qualifications, diploma qualifications and for each separate unit (A, B, C and D) of the NEBOSH National Diploma. These are acknowledged in the annual report.
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