It is vitally important when undertaking any type of training course to ensure that you learn the course content to the best of your ability in order to give yourself the best possible chance of successfully completing any form of assessment – NEBOSH examinations are no different.

There is however another important aspect to consider when undertaking NEBOSH examinations and that is the use of ‘command words’ by the examining body.

Understanding NEBOSH ‘command’ words and what they mean can be the difference between a ‘pass or fail’ and delegates often have problems in determining what is meant by them – in short they are ‘action verbs’ and they provide an indicator with regard to how the examining body expect the question to be answered.

This is a short guide based on five examples contained in current NEBOSH Resources on how to recognise the ‘command words’ that you are likely to come across when undertaking the NEBOSH National General Certificate.

Command Word One:-   Identify

Meaning:  To give to reference to an item, which could be its name or title.

Type of answer required:  Normally a single word or short phrase answer is enough provided it is clear and concise.

Example Question:  Identify FOUR hazards associated with excavations?

Answer:

  • Underground Services
  • Collapse of the sides
  • Falling materials
  • Water ingress

Command Word Two:-   Give

Meaning:  To provide factual, short answers, such as an example or the meaning of something.

Type of answer required:  Normally a single word, phrase or sentence is sufficient.

Example Question:  Identify FOUR types of safety sign AND give an example in EACH case?

Answer:

  • Mandatory Signs – e.g. Wear Ear Protection
  • Warning signs – e.g. Caution Hot Surface
  • Prohibition signs – e.g. no smoking
  • Emergency or Safe Condition Signs – e.g. first-aid box

Command Word Three:-  Outline

Meaning:  To provide a short summary of the principal (important) features or different parts

Type of answer required:  Note an exhaustive description is not required, just a brief summary of the major aspects of whatever is stated in the question

Example QuestionOutline FOUR hazards associated with excavations?

Answer:

  • Underground Services – Contact with or rupturing of electricity, gas or water utilities
  • Collapse of the sides – Unsupported trench or incorrect angle of the sides
  • Falling materials – Spoil dug from excavation or materials and tools stored at ground level could fall in
  • Water ingress – Through heavy rain or burst water main

Command Word Four:-  Describe

Meaning:  To give a detailed information about the primary features of something or a subject, without trying to fully explain its operation or purpose. 

Type of answer required:  A description that is sufficient to allow an individual (in this case the examiner) to visualise what you are describing without attempting to explain.

Example Question:  Describe the mechanical hazards associated with a bench grinder?

Answer:
An entanglement hazard would be associated with the rotating spindle that the abrasive wheel is mounted on. Drawing in and trapping is associated with the gap between the tool rest and the rotating abrasive wheel. Friction or abrasion hazards would be associated with the surface of the rotating abrasive wheel and stabbing or puncture hazards could be created by flying fragments or pieces of ejected broken wheel.

Command Word Five:-  Explain

Meaning:  To give the reader an understanding and or make an idea/relationship clear to them

Type of answer required:  An explanation that sufficiently demonstrates a delegates knowledge or understanding with regard to ‘why or how’ something happens. The appropriate use of examples may be useful in answering such questions.

Example QuestionExplain how sensitive protective equipment (trip device) can reduce the risk of contact with moving parts of machinery?

Answer:
Sensitive protective equipment is designed to identify the presence of a person or body part within the danger zone of machinery. Examples of such devices include pressure mats and light beams which are connected to the machine controls and would stop the machine rapidly should a person or body part be detected.

General

Command words are specifically associated with the learning outcomes and assessment objectives of a qualification.  Knowledge of them is not only beneficial in answering exam questions but they can also be a very useful revision aid in confirming your knowledge and understanding of a specific topic.

Delegates should not let command words confuse them and they should not lose sight of what the question is asking them.  Delegates need to consider the following factors for each question posed:

  • What is the command word?
  • What do I need to say to gain marks?
  • What is or is not relevant to the question?

Use command words as a guide when answering questions which will enable you to demonstrate in your exams the level of knowledge and understanding you have regarding a topic.

The simplified guide above will help you understand what is required by each command word but better still review the NEBOSH guide in full alongside the specific course learning outcomes and assessment objectives.

When booking onto our NEBOSH Courses, our instructors will set delegates homework to help prepare them for the examination and this will include the use and understanding of ‘command words’.  Additionally Goldcross runs specific NEBOSH revision days for the benefit of all its delegates at very competitive prices.

Fell free to give us a call on: 0203 633 5505 or send us an email to discuss your NEBOSH training needs in more detail at: training@goldcross-training.com.

 

Government policies, austerity measures and even Brexit are having a continuing impact upon business and with budgets becoming stretched it is without doubt becoming more difficult to ensure that your organisation is not only capable of delivering success today but is also prepared for the future – NEBOSH training can have an impact here.

Most large businesses have grasped the impact that a good health and safety management strategy has upon their ‘bottom line’ and in assisting them in meeting their corporate social responsibilities, even if they are found wanting on occasion.

However, sadly there are still many (particularly small and medium sized organisations) that fail to understand the importance of such a strategy and the benefits it can bring.

Developing a good health and safety strategy and effectively managing workplace risk not only demonstrates to your employees that their well-being and welfare is of importance to you. It also highlights to potential customers that as an organisation you take your responsibilities to the community in which you operate and the greater environment seriously.

It should of course also be remembered that many organisations will now only contract with other like-minded organisations i.e those that can demonstrate that they follow specific standards, of which Health and safety is generally of key importance.

A poorly managed company that is willing to take risks in such an area is not generally considered to make for a good business partner and puts you at risk both financially and reputationally.

As you move forward and implement your strategy you will begin to realise the benefits generated from implementing best practices not only in reducing accidents but also in; developing your employees, engendering trust, building in both efficiency and accountability, all of which will support your drive to increase productivity.  Additionally, it will aid to build your reputation within the industry/business sector in which you operate, not only earning you the respect of your peers but more importantly potential customers.

Selecting the correct training framework for your; line managers, team leaders, supervisors and staff with health and safety related responsibilities, will be key to your success in this regard and there is no better place to start than with NEBOSH training qualifications.

The National Examination Board for Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) is recognised globally and is the most frequently demanded qualification by employers seeking to employ individuals with health and safety responsibilities.  NEBOSH qualifications are also recognised professionally by a number of institutes such as: the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) and the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM).

The NEBOSH organisation does not in itself deliver training but focuses on the development of appropriate course content/syllabuses and assessment methods.  The actual training courses are delivered by organisations such as Goldcross Training who have been fully accredited by NEBOSH to deliver the courses they provide giving assurance to organisations and individuals that they have met specific criteria.

An effective starting point is to determine who within your organisation fulfils health and safety responsibilities (not forgetting yourself of course) and booking them on a NEBOSH General Certificate training course.

This will enable you to begin building your own internal network of health and safety specialists who can then in turn provide you with the advice and support you require to drive your strategy forward.

If you think NEBOSH is the route for you in developing your organisation strategy or you are seeking to develop your own career, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We understand that training of any form comes at a cost and we will happily discuss our commitment to you in order to ensure that you receive value as a result of your commitment.