NEBOSH Certificate Exam Tips Series: Key Words

NEBOSH Certificate Top Tips

Sometimes exam questions can seem like cryptic crossword puzzles and it is hard to see the wood for the trees.  The key is to underline the key words to help you focus.

For example, see the options below – for the purposes of the questions asked, they are all the same task:

A. An office removals contractor is moving a large number of packing crates from the back entrance at ground level to the van (fitted with a tail lift).

B. A scaffolder is moving a large number of scaffold poles from ground level, to a nearby storage area.

C. Due to lack of mechanical aids, a worker must move a large number of porcelain toilet bowls from the ground floor of the factory to the nearby storage area.

1. Identify types of injury associated with the activity.

    Despite the environment, all of the above scenarios are manual handling tasks, therefore you are being asked to identify injuries associated with manual handling. Remember, at Certificate level, a ‘slipped disc’ or strains/pains will not get you any marks.

    The types of injury and specific injuries therefore would be:

    • Injuries arising from the load being dropped – crushing / impact injuries, cuts, abrasions, bruising.
    • Back injuries – prolapsed disc / spinal compression.
    • Mechanics injuries – torn ligaments, tendon sprains / strains, muscular strain
    • Hernias / ruptures.

    NEBOSH Exam Tips

    2. Outline Factors in relation to the task that will affect the risk of injury

    The word to focus on here is task. You will gain no marks for citing load or individual factors. Therefore the key factors to expand upon are:

    • Excessive lifting / lowering distances
    • Excessive pushing / pulling of the load
    • Excessive carrying distances
    • Holding / manipulating a load at a distance from the trunk
    • An imposed high rate of work
    • Prolonged / frequent physical effort
    • Stooping / space restrictions/poor posture
    • The need to twist the body

    e.g. One factor would be prolonged physical effort. The activity involves moving a large number of xxx which will involve frequent moving of the loads from A to B this will therefore increase the risk of injury.

    3. Outline Factors in relation to the load that will affect the risk of injury

    The only word to focus on here is load.  The actual load makes no difference when identifying factors, but the actual load can be mentioned when expanding; the key factors to expand upon are:

    • Weight
    • Size / bulky / unwieldy
    • Shifting contents / stability / liquids
    • Unbalanced / centre of gravity
    • Grip – ease of / ability to grip / slippery / provision of handles
    • Surfaces – hot / cold, sharp / rough edges
    • Hazardous contents

    e.g. the size and shape of the load can affect the risk of injury. Scaffold poles are very long/the toilet bowls are quite bulky and this will make them awkward to carry.

    Take a look at the rest of the blogs in this series here. If you have any questions regarding the NEBOSH Certificate feel free to contact us on 01394 389683 or