NEBOSH Diploma Candidate Briefing for Unit DNI

NEBOSH Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health

To successfully complete the Unit DNI assignment, candidates must review the arrangements for managing health and safety in a workplace and produce justified, proportionate recommendations to improve health and safety performance.

Students will be required to demonstrate their understanding of the role of a health and safety practitioner and the adoption of a proportionate response to risk.

Approaching this assignment can for many candidates, be quite daunting.  To help allay those fears, some key points are set out below followed by a discussion of each section of the report:
 

Key Points

  • Every candidate should be familiar with the guidance from NEBOSH on Unit DNI (if you don’t have a copy, it can be found on their website). This gives a detailed breakdown of the structure that is expected and what is required in each part. It also contains the marking scheme and the criteria by which your report will be judged – follow it closely. It can be a fine line as to whether a report gains high or low marks, so make sure you understand exactly what NEBOSH are looking for.

  • It is suggested that the assignment should be in the region of 8,000 words, not exceeding 12,000. No direct penalty will be incurred where these limits are exceeded, but candidates must be aware that their reports could lose clarity if they are excessively long (which can cost valuable marks).

  • The report structure is clearly set out in the assignment brief – do not deviate from this.  The two sections to focus attention on are the “review and critical analysis of how health and safety is currently managed by the organisation” and the “evaluation of improvements required”. These form the heart of the report, being worth a total of 70 marks.

  • An extensive bibliography can provide good evidence of thorough research and whatever system you use for referencing documents, ensure that you remain consistent.  NEBOSH suggest either the Harvard or Vancouver system for referencing. If you’re not familiar with either of these, a useful guide is included at the end of this document.

  • Appendices should only be included where they support the content of the assignment. Such material should be an essential aid to understanding the context of the assignment and each appendix should be referred to in the main text of the assignment.

  • Reports are sent directly to NEBOSH (electronically) and are submitted to a text-matching database which will detect any plagiarism. If plagiarism is identified, the assignment is likely to be disqualified and the candidate may be banned from future registrations.

Executive Summary

The Executive Summary should be written after the rest of the report has been completed and be presented at the beginning. It should be no more than 1 side of A4 (using single-spaced Ariel 11 and 2cm margins) and provide a concise overview of key issues, conclusions and recommendations. It needs to make a persuasive, well-substantiated case for addressing the key issues.
 

Introduction

The introduction to the DNI report should:
 

  • Set out aims and objectives – candidates should ensure that these relate to the organisation and don’t just reiterate the assignment brief.

  • Explain the methodology to be used – what methods of research will be adopted in the preparation of the report? This should be fully described in order to demonstrate that extensive work has been carried out.

  • Describe the organisation and its activities – make sure that a clear picture of the workplace is provided. Describe the size, the nature of the work, processes involved, employment profile etc. as per NEBOSH guide.

  • Set out the role of health and safety practitioner in setting and achieving the objectives of the organisation, including potential ethical and conflicts. Establish the meaning of the term “ethics” in the context of the work required for the assignment.

 

Review and Critical Analysis

The review and critical analysis of how health and safety is currently managed needs to establish “where are you now” and include a review of the current arrangements under the core elements of:
 

  • Leadership;

  • Management;

  • Worker Involvement;

  • Competence;

  • Compliance; and

  • Risk Profile.

Each element should be used as a separate heading.  Of these core elements, the first five attract a maximum of 5 marks each.

The “Risk Profile” section is worth up to 15 marks alone and is therefore or particular importance.  To attract full marks for each of these sections, the marking scheme sets out the following requirements:
“The account demonstrates a detailed and accurate understanding of the principal concepts involved.The information presented is relevant and is substantiated by evidence and provides comprehensive coverage of the situation.The relationship between the information and the evidence is clearly expressed.  The review is based on rigorous enquiry. The current arrangements are critically analysed against best practice demonstrating research and analytical skills. There is reference to good practice.”

Therefore, for a critical analysis, the candidate must do more than just describe. For each of the above elements, the current arrangements should be:
 

  • Identified;

  • Evidenced; and

  • Critically analysed against best practice (strengths and weaknesses), identifying gaps in current arrangements.

In NEBOSH’s Guidance and Information for Candidates, a useful list of questions is provided to demonstrate the areas that need to be included for each of the elements. It should be remembered that this is not a definitive list, but candidates should ensure that they address all the issues raised by each of the questions. Where a question doesn’t seem to apply, it should still be used to form part of the critical analysis.
 

Evaluation of Improvements Required

Once the review and critical analysis has been completed, candidates need to evaluate the information on the current arrangements to determine the top three improvements that would make the most impact on improving health and safety performance within the organisation.

Choices need to be justified based on the critical analysis and deemed to be the issues that if addressed, would have the largest impact.

To gain high marks here, the marking scheme states:
“The improvement selected is appropriate and justified. There is an explanation of how the improvement will be achieved and the role of the health and safety practitioner in the implementation. The communications required are explained and there is an outline of the financial justification for the improvement. There is evaluation of the recommendations to ensure they are both proportionate and sensible.”
 
 
When carrying out the evaluation it is necessary to consider:
 

  • Who will be responsible for implementing the improvements?

  • What resources are required?

  • Is any training required?

  • What are the timescales for improvements?

  • How will the effectiveness of the improvements be measured, monitored and reported?

  • How will lessons be learnt?

  • How will any ethical or other constraints be addressed?

In considering the above issues, this section should also include an explanation of:
 

  • The role of Health and Safety Practitioner;

  • Effective Communication of Improvements;

  • Financial Justification.

 

Conclusions

The purpose of the conclusions is to provide a concise summary of the main findings.  They should begin by referring back to the aims / objectives in a discussion of how well they were achieved.

It is important that candidates do not introduce any new findings in this section as it will limit the amount of marks that can be awarded.  The potential consequences of failing to act should also be discussed.
 

Recommendations

The recommendations must follow logically from the issues which have been discussed in the conclusions, based on the three selected priorities. Every recommendation must be fully justified (ie. the reason why each one is included), and be proportionate and sensible. Justification should include a cost / benefit analysis in order to encourage management to take action.
 

Referencing for the Unit DNI Assignment

Whilst studying, candidates will need to refer to work produced and written by someone else, e.g. Health and Safety Executive. It is important for the candidate to be able to prove that they have researched authoritative texts which have been written previously on the subject, without claiming the ideas are their own. Copying other work can lead to disqualification of candidates.

A formal system of referencing is necessary to:
 

  • Acknowledge the work of other writers and researchers;

  • Demonstrate the body of knowledge on which the candidate has based their work; and

  • Enable other researchers to trace the reference sources easily and lead them on to further information.

When searching for literature on a subject, it is important to save or note down precisely all the details of the references to any sources that are used. This will enable the candidate to trace accurately the sources needed and avoid additional work when listing the references.

Within the text, the material should be referenced by following a recognized system such as Harvard or Vancouver (see below). At the end of the assignment there should be a separate section which lists the references used.
 

Harvard Referencing

Using this system of referencing, the author and the year of publication are identified at the relevant point in the text in brackets and the references listed at the end of the assignment. See the sample text below:

Noise
Sound is a physical sensation perceived by the individual and resulting from pressure variations in the air. Invariably these pressure variations are produced by a vibrating source which may be solid (loudspeaker) or resulting from turbulence in the air, such as created through exhaust emissions.

Noise then is often and simplistically described as unwanted sound or sound which is especially disturbing (Collins, 2017).

Figure 1: A Porous Silencer for Use on Compressed Air Exhausts (HSE, 2005)


References
Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus, Harper Collins 2017
HSE, Reducing Noise at Work, Guidance on the Noise at Work Regulations 1989, L108, HSE Books, 2005
 
 

Vancouver Referencing

This system uses superscript numbers to recognize the text which is being referenced and then links the list of references to the numbers. See the sample text below:

Noise
Sound is a physical sensation perceived by the individual and resulting from pressure variations in the air. Invariably these pressure variations are produced by a vibrating source which may be solid (loudspeaker) or resulting from turbulence in the air, such as created through exhaust emissions.

Noise then is often and simplistically described as unwanted sound, or sound which is especially disturbing1.

Figure 1: A Porous Silencer for Use on Compressed Air Exhausts2


References
1.            Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus, Harper Collins 2017
2.            HSE, Reducing Noise at Work, Guidance on the Noise at Work Regulations 1989, L108, HSE Books, 2005
 

Referencing websites

When referencing websites, the author of the article along with the title of the article should be provided in the list of references (along with the URL of the site where the article was read and the date it was accessed). In the absence of a recognized author, just the title will be appropriate, for example:

Health and Safety Executive, “Enforcement Policy Statement”, www.hse.gov.uk (accessed on 18th August 2017)