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NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety Guide

A Straightforward Guide – NEBOSH National Diploma

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is a degree level qualification incorporating health, safety, ethical and management values. It is a leading Health and Safety qualification that is recognised, valued and respected across the UK and the world.

If you are considering Diploma studies, the following should offer a straightforward guide on what the related e-Learning course involves and whether the qualification is right for your career goals.

Who is the Qualification for?

It is typically aimed at UK based candidates who may already be in an advisory Health and Safety role, but are looking to move into management. However, it is not precluded from those who are not currently working in this sector.

For those who have competed a Health and Safety qualification at certificate level, this is an ideal progression as it builds on the foundational knowledge gained from the certificate.

In addition to Health and Safety, the National Diploma covers various topics in great detail including:

  • Management and leadership techniques.
  • Effective communication.
  • Techniques to engage workers and build a positive Health and Safety culture.
  • How the human body works (to a biological level) and its defences.
  • Equations to calculate areas such as series reliability and loss causation.
  • Different types of risk assessments.
  • Different types of fire and explosions and how they can spread.

If you are a Health and Safety practitioner working outside of the UK, then you should likely be looking at the NEBOSH International Diploma which has its own guide here.


The topics covered in the National Diploma are very detailed and include a great deal of technical information. It is divided into four units:

Unit A – assessed by a 3-hour written exam held in January or July:

  • Management and leadership principles.
  • Principles of Health and Safety law with a more in depth look at criminal and civil law.
  • Health and Safety management systems.
  • Measuring Health and Safety performance.
  • Accident/incident investigation and in-depth look at causation.
  • Risk assessment and control.
  • Human behaviour and how this can affect Health and Safety.
  • The role of the Health and Safety practitioner.

Unit B – assessed by a 3-hour written exam held in January or July:

  • Managing Occupational Health.
  • Identification, Assessment and Evaluation of Hazardous Substances.
  • The Control of Hazardous Substances.
  • The Monitoring and Measuring of Hazardous Substances.
  • Biological Agents.
  • Noise and Vibration.
  • Radiation
  • Mental Ill-health and Dealing with Violence and Aggression at Work.
  • Musculoskeletal Risks and Controls.
  • Work Environment Risks and Controls.

Unit C – assessed by a 3-hour written exam held in January or July:

  • Workplace welfare and specific work requirements.
  • Fire and explosion.
  • Workplace risk assessments.
  • Storage, handling and processing of dangerous substances.
  • Work equipment.
  • Workplace machinery.
  • Mobile lifting, access and work at height equipment.
  • Electrical safety.
  • Hazards and controls associated with construction and temporary works.
  • Workplace transport and work-related road risks.

Unit DNI – assessed by an 8,000-word assignment submitted in February, May, August or November:

Completion of an assignment that will assess the practical application of the knowledge and understanding gained from their studies of Units A, B and C based on a workplace.

The aim of the assignment is for candidates to carry out a review of the arrangements for managing Health and Safety in a workplace and to produce justified, proportionate recommendations to improve Health and Safety performance. The assignment needs to demonstrate an understanding of the role of a Health and Safety practitioner and the adoption of a proportionate response to risk.

National Diploma Qualification from SHEilds

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Is it easy?

“Is it easy?” Many students ask this regarding the qualification and, in a word, no! The NEBOSH National Diploma in not an easy course to pass.

However, it is extremely rewarding, and the subject matters that it covers are interesting to study as they cover such a wide variety of topics. It will give students a look at different work areas and the types of risks and controls that these areas require. The course content gives a very detailed look at these work areas and an explanation of the technical information for each subject matter.

As such, the qualification requires that students do additional research into the various topics in order to better understand them and to see how they apply to a workplace.

Whilst it is not an easy qualification, this only adds to the esteem in which it is held. Employers appreciate and benefit from the combination of management techniques integrated with detailed Health and Safety skills, knowledge that it brings.

With the focus on Health and Safety becoming more and more high profile, having employees with this qualification can only be an advantage, as it will demonstrate that the employer has capable and competent SHE Management staff in their organisation, who have the skills and knowledge to manage risks arising from its workplace activities.

The NEBOSH Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety can be completed in around two years with hard work and dedication. However, NEBOSH do permit students to take up to five years to finish it.

SHEilds offer this as an e-Learning course, which is ideal for those who are studying around work and home life commitments. Our qualified and friendly tutor team are here to offer support and guidance to students on any aspect of the course from technical queries, to guidance on how to approach exams, and support in writing the DNI assignment.

Career opportunities

Whilst this is a high-level qualification in itself, it provides further career opportunities such as:

  • On successful completion of the National Diploma, students can apply the designation of “DipNEBOSH” after their name.
  • Students can apply to become a Graduate member of IOSH which on acceptance, will allow students to use the designation “CertIOSH“. This is a step closer to becoming a Chartered member of IOSH (CMIOSH).
  • The National Diploma is a good companion to the NEBOSH National Diploma in Environmental Management as many employers like to group these two areas together.
  • For those who wish to go further with their academic career, it can enable students to go on and study for a Masters’ Degree in Occupational Health and Safety (MSc or MRes).

Find out more

Want to find out more? If you now feel that the NEBOSH National Diploma is a qualification for you, please get in touch with our professional, friendly team of advisors who will be able to answer any queries that you have about the courses that we offer here at SHEilds.


Victoria Hughes


Student Support Tutor, SHEilds Ltd.


2 replies
    • SHEilds Health and Safety
      SHEilds Health and Safety says:

      Hello Hazel,

      Studying NEBOSH courses is a fantastic avenue towards improving your career prospects.

      Checking our customer database, I can see you are already in contact with one of our expert Course Advisers in our South Africa based offices. They will continue to guide you, providing any advice and information you may need to help you towards your goals.

      Good luck with your studies


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