NEBOSH IGC 2 March 2022 Solved Paper

NEBOSH IGC 2 March 2022 Solved Past Paper

SCENARIO

An organisation acts as an agent on behalf of car sales showrooms, selling optional extras over the telephone to people who have recently placed an order for a new car. The organisation occupies a large three storey office building, that they moved into three years ago. The organisation is privately owned and run by a managing director (MD) and four directors. Excluding the MD and directors, the organisation employs 150 workers. On the third floor of the building (also known as the director’s floor) there are separate offices for the MD and each of the directors. There is also desk space for the directors’ support team (30 desks), a large boardroom that can seat 25 people, as well as two smaller meeting rooms that can each hold 10 people. The two lower floors are for the remaining 120 workers. Each floor has offices around the edges for line managers and an open plan space in the centre with workstations for call centre call handlers (salespeople). The call centre operates seven days a week.

In addition to the 150 workers, the organisation has recently taken on 9 apprentices, ranging in age from 16 to 25 years. The directors are very proud of their apprenticeship scheme.

The salespeople’s workstations are divided into cubicles. Within each cubicle there is a desk and chair; each desk has a computer monitor and telephone with a tower personal computer (PC) sitting beneath the desk. All telephones are fitted with headsets.

The organisation acts as an agent for 300 car showrooms around the country. The car showrooms then give the organisation 10% of any sales that they make. The organisation has been operating for ten years and was financially successful until a recent pandemic, when the organisation had to close for six months.

The salespeople are given ambitious targets each week that are imposed by the line manager. Since the pandemic, these targets have become more aggressive. If a salesperson does not meet the target for three consecutive weeks, they will need to attend a first stage performance review with their line manager. The reviews are officially put in place to discuss any training, or other help that may be required to help them reach their targets. Unofficially, the line manager usually uses the meetings to berate the salesperson for not meeting the targets (the line manager’s target is based on the salespeople’s targets). The line manager tells the salespeople that they do not care how they meet these targets, but they must meet them. The salespeople usually dread these meetings.  If called for a first stage review, they often choose to resign. If they do not resign, they are then given four weeks to improve. If they still do not meet their targets, they are then required to attend a second stage performance review. These reviews are carried out with the line manager and a member of the HR department. The output of these meetings is supposed to be a development plan. However, the salesperson is usually dismissed, soon after a second stage review.

You are the facilities manager for the organisation and have been in post for 18 months. Recently the directors have assigned all health and safety responsibilities for the organisation to you. The directors do not see it as their responsibility. Although you have no formal health and safety qualifications, you do have some experience of managing health and safety with a previous employer; the directors see this as a sign of competence. You feel that experience alone is not sufficient for this role and as a result you put a business case to the directors for you to take a relevant health and safety qualification. This will give you the specific knowledge and skills that are needed for the extra duties. The directors are impressed with the case you have made and give their approval.

You are now approaching the end of your studies and feel more confident to take on these extra duties. With the knowledge and skills that you have gained, you decide to do a complete review of the organisation’s health and safety management system. You think that the easiest way will be to carry out an audit of the system. You speak to the MD about this, they agree and say that an inspection is a good idea, and it will be interesting to see what you find. You reply that you are planning an audit rather than an inspection. The MD replies “Well, they are the same thing, and also, the directors are probably going to be too busy to take part.”. You ask if the MD would like to see a plan of action; they reply that they trust you to do what needs to be done. You think that this is a good response, it will save you some time if you do not have to plan the audit. You are looking forward to carrying out your first audit.

The audit takes you several weeks and as part of the process, you speak to some of the salespeople. You ask them specifically about their involvement in health and safety. Most of them reply that they thought that health and safety was not relevant to their work; none of them had received any health and safety training. You also ask them if they are ever asked about health and safety matters relating to their job. They say that they are told about changes and their views are never taken account of. They go on to complain to you that the targets given are usually unrealistic and that they struggle to meet them. They also tell you about the pressure they feel from having the performance reviews. You ask them what training they have received for their job. They all say that they were taught how to use the computer system and the telephones. They were also taught the procedure for taking payments when they first started. No other training was given. You ask them if they have talked to the directors about this issue. They reply that they hardly ever see the directors as the directors tend to remain on the third floor. They also say that they only ever see or hear from the directors when something goes wrong. When this happens, the salespeople generally receive information or updates via their team leader, not directly from the directors.

The salespeople also tell you that things became so bad a few years ago that one of the workers left the organisation and then went to the newspapers to highlight the bad work practices in the organisation. The ex-worker also publicised the story on their social media. The salespeople tell you that the organisation started to receive a lot of unwanted media attention, and a few of the car salesrooms that the organisation dealt with cancelled contracts based on this incident. Fortunately for the organisation, a few days after the news story made headlines, there was a major political incident, so it was soon forgotten about.

While you are walking away from the salespeople, you glance down and notice that one of the tower PCs has a frayed power lead and a broken plug casing that is plugged into an extension lead. The extension lead has clearly been damaged as it has packing tape over the pin holes to stop that part of the extension being used. You ask the salesperson if they have reported the issue. They reply that they did not know that they had to report it and would have no idea who to report it to.

Following further conversations with the salespeople you then go on to review the organisation’s documentation such as policies and procedures, risk assessments, training records, etc. Very quickly it is apparent that there is only one general risk assessment. It covers manual handling, slips trips and falls, and working at height. It is also nearly 5 years old and has the organisation’s old address on it. There is also a generic policy statement, that again has the old address on it. There is a series of generic policies and procedures in a folder, but it is clear that these have been produced by a third party and needed amending to be specific to the organisation, which has not been done.

You prepare an audit report that you email to the MD and directors. The report contains a summary of the main/significant findings and an action plan for the most important issues.

You are called into a meeting to discuss your findings with the directors. They ask you why they need to do risk assessments. They say that the organisation does not have any health and safety risks as the workers are only sitting at desks. You reply that there are still legal obligations that need to be met and go on to explain these to the directors. You tell them the organisation is non-compliant in some areas of the business. You also explain that the consequences of most of the risks are foreseeable. The directors, therefore, need to put in place control measures that are reasonable. The directors agree to further review your action plan; two days later the MD sends you an email to advise you that the directors have agreed to carry out all the actions identified in your action plan. They are particularly keen on improving the current health and safety management system, but are not aware what this means in reality.

A few weeks later, you get into work one morning and find an official looking envelope on your desk. You open it and find some court papers inside. A worker (who we will call ‘Worker Z’), who left the organisation’s employment one year ago, is bringing a compensation case against the organisation. The paperwork states that Worker Z sustained injuries caused by repetitive tasks while working for the organisation. You immediately take the paperwork to the MD who rolls their eyes and says “Not another one!”. You ask what they mean by this. They reply “This is the fourth case of this type we’ve

had brought against us in the last 12 months; I guess word is getting around!”. The MD sighs and continues “Don’t worry about it. I’ll have to tell the insurance company though, guess that means the insurance premiums will go up again!”. The MD takes the paperwork from you and says “I’ll get the solicitors on to it, that will either scare them away or we will give them a settlement out of court to make them go away!”. You tell the MD that you were not aware of the other cases and want to look into this case further. The MD replies “If you really want to! But don’t waste too much time on it!”. The MD hands the envelope back to you and tells you to make copies of the documents and they will then send the originals to the solicitor. While on the subject, you ask the MD if there have ever been any enforcement actions brought against the organisation by the enforcement authority. The MD tells you that it is only compensation claims that have been brought.

You do not remember Worker Z so take the paperwork to HR and ask them if you can review their file. HR tell you that they should not really let you have this due to data protection issues, but in the circumstances, they will allow it on this occasion.

You review the file and find a picture of Worker Z. You remember the worker after this; the file tells you that Worker Z always met their targets and was well regarded by their line manager. You remember seeing Worker Z around the office and they always seemed to be sociable. You go through the file to find out what training the worker had; there are no training records present. You find out who their line manager was and make a note of this. You look for any reports of workplace incidents involving Worker Z, but there are none. The worker did not even take a day off sick in the three years that they worked for the organisation.

You go to speak to Worker Z’s line manager. The line manager remembers them and comments on the exceptional behaviour and work rate of Worker Z for the first two years. They then remember that they became slower at their work (although they always met their targets) and that they became withdrawn during the last 12 months they were with the organisation. You ask the line manager if they had asked the worker why this was, to which the line manager replies “No, I don’t have time for that. Anyway, the worker handed in their notice, so I didn’t see it as a problem”. The line manager then goes on to tell you which workers were employed at the same time as Worker Z.

You speak to five salespeople who remember Worker Z. None of the salespeople were particularly close to Worker Z, but they all say that Worker Z was a really nice person. One of the salespeople remembers Worker Z complaining of sore and swollen wrists at one stage but they cannot remember when this was. They say that they told Worker Z to go and see a doctor and report the issue to their line manager as it could get worse. They remember that Worker Z said it was okay, that it would sort itself out and that they did not like doctors and did not want to bother the line manager. You ask if they discussed Worker Z taking time off sick to allow themselves time to recover; the salesperson replies that you really had to be on your deathbed to be allowed sick leave.

Task 1: Who does what in organisations

1Based on this scenario only, what employer obligations to workers are likely to have been contravened?(15) 
 
 Note: You should support your answer, where applicable, using relevant information from the scenario 
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Task 2: Health and safety management systems

2Part of a Health and Safety Management System is having good leadership in place.
 Comment on the current leadership in the organisation. (15)
 Note: You should support your answer, where applicable, using relevant information from the scenario.
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Task 3: Monitoring and measuring (audits)

3(a)     Based on the scenario only, comment on the approach taken to the audit. 
 (10)
 (b)     Advise the MD on the differences between an audit and a workplace inspection.  (10)
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Task 4: Risk assessments

4Based on the scenario only, comment on the organisation’s approach to assessing health and safety risks. 
 (10)
 Note: Learners only need to focus on the general approach of the organisation to assessing health and safety risks, and NOT a detailed 5-step approach. 
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Task 5: Health and safety culture

5Based on the scenario only, what are the negative indicators of health and safety culture in this organisation?  (25)
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Task 6: Training recommendations

6Based on the scenario only, what training would you recommend the organisation arranges for different types of workers, to minimise the risk to workers’ health and safety?    (15)
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Author

Badar Javed

Badar Javed is an experienced safety industry professional with more than 10 years of service, specializing in the development and management of safety protocols across various sectors, including construction and oil refineries. His work has been pivotal in ensuring the protection of employees and customers through effective safety measures.