HSfB Blog

When most of us hear of workplace accidents and injuries, we look on from the sidelines with a general 'it will never happen to me' attitude, turning up to work comfortable in the knowledge that our health and safety is being well cared for by the organisation in which we work.

Aside from the fact that many companies have poor safety records and your health and safety may well not be in a 'safe pair of hands', it is also not just the responsibility of your employer or those in charge of health and safety to look after you.

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) imposes general duties on employers, the self-employed, controllers of premises, and manufacturers to ensure health, safety and welfare but the final group that makes up this list and the one which many of us do not realise exists is – employees.

From the many convictions and cases that are brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it seems reasonably understood, if not carried through, that the HSWA imposes general duties on all employers and the self-employed to ensure the health and safety of those who may be affected by their business activities. Employers may also be liable for negligent acts committed by fellow employees acting in the course of their employment.

Related Article - A Potted Guide to Taking NEBOSH exams

OK we've talked about all the theory – now let's put it all together and try to give a perfect answer to a mock exam question:

"Volunteers are involved in collecting bags of books, clothes and other donated goods from householders. The bags are loaded into vans for delivery to a chain of charity shops. Explain how the charity should assess the risks to the charity workers, identifying the particular issues that would need to be considered at each stage of the assessment" (NEBOSH Diploma Part One, June 2003)

First things first – look at the action verbs. You are being asked to explain how the problem should be assessed and identify the particular issues at key stages.

Re-read the question now, and underline your key signposts:


It's a well-known fact in health & safety that NEBOSH exams are tough, but that's not to say they are impossible. The guidance that follows is intended to give you some final key pointers for the big day, and coupled with a comprehensive study and revision programme, should get you through just fine.


Action Verbs

Take note of the "action verb" at the start of each question. As a general rule, if a question asks you to "Identify", "state" or "list" then a simple list will do. If however, the question asks for "outline", "describe" or "explain", then your answer should be in sentences, preferably with an example to illustrate.


Read the Question

The clue is in the question! However simple it may seem, make sure you read the question properly, maybe even underlining key points (you can write on your question papers). It is imperative that you answer the question that has been set, not the one you wish had been set.

HSfB Prize Draw Successes

Since November 2006, HSfB has been running regular free prize draws for our newsletter subscribers.

The first free draw, launched on 5 November 2006, was a 'one off' draw where all entrants were placed 'in the hat' and winners were drawn by an impartial member of a renowned health, safety and environmental establishment (NEBOSH). The total value of the prizes given away for that prize draw was a fantastic £7,260!

Since then, the concept grew and grew until we had several kind organisations and individuals donating prizes on a regular basis. The prize draws have helped to change so many lives and I'm convinced these lives aren't limited to just those winning prizes. I believe the work any health and safety professional does helps to save lives every single day.

Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

(Elizabeth II 1974. Chapter 37)

This document is published with the consent of the Office of Public Sector Information and remains Crown Copyright.

This page gives up to Section 9 only. The printable and PDF versions below show the full Act.

icon-pdf Printable PDF Version: Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974


1974 CHAPTER 37

An Act to make further provision for securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at work, for protecting others against risks to health or safety in connection with the activities of persons at work, for controlling the keeping and use and preventing the unlawful acquisition, possession and use of dangerous substances, and for controlling certain emissions into the atmosphere; to make further provision with respect to the employment medical advisory service; to amend the law relating to building regulations, and the Building (Scotland) Act 1959; and for connected purposes.