Course Aim: ‘To give managers and supervisors the real-life knowledge, understanding and skills to help manage their teams or activities in way that is safe and without risks to health not just today, but for years to come.
RQF Level: 3
Delivery method: Online (12 hrs)
Assessment: Online Consolidation activities, Live online validation interview Classroom 30 minute written test
Cost: Online £195
NCRQ’s focus is on ‘real-life’ and scenario-based learning approaches. The NCRQ Managing Safely course meanders through several case studies to help students get to grips with the application of a range of different health and safety concepts.
NCRQ have done a fine job with this course, it’s a strong contender to improve health and safety engagement for their supervisors and managers. With that said, the cost (£195 per student) & time required (12 hrs minimum) may be too much for many businesses. Shorter, lower-cost courses that cover very similar material are available elsewhere.
NCRQ Managing Safely - Course Review
NCRQ’s focus is on ‘real-life’ and scenario-based learning approaches. They haven’t shied away from that strategy with this course as it meanders through a set of 7 different case studies (based on real events) to help students get to grips with the application of a range of different health and safety concepts.
NCRQ have pulled out all the stops for this one, even getting TV celebrities involved. If you are a fan of Channel 4’s George Clarke (Amazing Spaces), you’ll be happy to know that you get to listen to his dulcet tones the whole way through the online version of the course.
A Good Yarn...
As with other NCRQ courses, they have used plenty of storytelling and case studies, rather focusing on memorising of lists and legal jargon. With that said, they do go into some detail to demonstrate the roles of the employer and employees. The course also touches on the distinction between criminal and civil law, and how it applies to businesses.
Interestingly, during the knowledge-check tasks, the student is asked to have a go at answering the question before they are taught the relevant content. I presume this is to improve engagement and to encourage the learner to use their existing knowledge & perception, rather than regurgitate what they have just been told.
The Usual, Please
From early on, a recurring set of learning themes are integrated into the case studies. These are based around important concepts like Reasonable Practicability, Plan Do Check Act (Deming Cycle) and the Hierarchy of Control.
The course begins by introducing some theory around risk management and reasonable practicability in the context of a workplace accident. The case-study example is used as a basis to demonstrate the hierarchy of control and confronts the rationale for investigating accidents.
This is a solid introduction to the different facets of an accident, and also includes a detailed breakdown of the actual costs that are incurred by the business as a result of the event. I think this is useful for the target audience, and helps the learner understand the direct financial burden of such an event.
Continuing on from the lower-level accident, the next case-study is a little more hard hitting. Some of the concepts that were introduced in the first case-study are developed, as the course goes into more depth around the selection of control measures and the use of root cause analysis.
NCRQ do a good job of linking in some learning around employer’s responsibilities here, including demonstrating how multiple parties can be held liable in the event of an accident. Also, this module introduces the role of human factors and demonstrates how a slow, steady deterioration in safety culture can leave us exposed to the worst of outcomes.
For many taking the course, I have little doubt that they will be able to draw direct parallels with their own workplace experiences.
The Golden Thread
The next couple of case-studies blend learning from various important aspects of health and safety. Using the common thread of risk assessment and hierarchy of control, the course challenges the student to identify potential problems and select appropriate solutions to scenarios that are based around real events. This is a great way to get students to think for themselves.
I do suspect though that some people will find the tasks much easier than others, depending on their specific background.
Further supporting information, especially for the online version, may be necessary to give students the chance to do a bit of self-guided research where necessary.
Rather cleverly, NCRQ have integrated some of the major causes of severe workplace injuries and fatalities into this course. Such as falls from height and workplace transport. They also touch on scenarios that introduce other common risks like manual handling, COSHH, dust, noise, vibration and even asbestos.
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
Some of the content in the NCRQ Managing Safely course is reasonably technical and might fly over the head of some folks. As it’s aimed toward Supervisors and Managers, it would reasonable to expect that there is some basic level of H&S understanding that exists for most people enrolling on it. Students are proactively reassured throughout the course that they do not need to retain technical information.
Of note, is the continued emphasis on considering human factors when designing our systems and processes. They also place importance on the level of information, instruction and supervision that is provided to staff.
As you may see from the case-studies in the course, this approach has merit when accounting for safety culture and individual behaviours in the different scenarios.
Rainbows and Butterflies
When NCRQ were telling me about the course, I had this utopian vision that I was just going to be kicking back with some popcorn to watch some accident reconstructions. To be clear, it isn’t as simple as that.
I’m not saying it was ‘difficult’, just that there was quite a bit of interaction during the course with quizzes, activities etc. Of course, for any online course, this is a must. Yes, I was a bit disappointed that I had to work so much during it, but such is life.
Rather, the course builds up momentum slowly like a Hollywood epic towards a crescendo of three excellently produced short movies. Each one is more impactful than the last, I expect that this was the intention.
The last one, I have to say, had me absolutely wincing in my seat. Even as a battle-hardened HSE professional of many years, it left a massive impression. If this is what NCRQ were going for, I think they have achieved it. What makes it perhaps more impactful, is that the final scenario occurs in a very low-risk environment.
In summary, NCRQ have done a fine job with this course. They’ve taken the fundamentals of their more advanced courses and developed something that is suitable for a broader audience. They manage to run a consistent thread of learning throughout the course in the context of the real-life scenarios, which I think will be of great benefit to the learner.
Whilst the online course delivers strongly, I do think the content would be highly valuable when delivered in a classroom format (for this price-point!). The reconstructions are highly emotive and the format would make it easy to generate useful discussion amongst peer groups. Unfortunately NCRQ has taken a step back from providing the course as a classroom option for the moment.
As an HSE professional, completing the online version of the course served as another reminder as to why I’m in the profession in the first place.
In the context of what is available currently, this online course should be a strong contender for anyone wanting to invest in and improve health and safety engagement for their supervisors and managers. Particularly, if an online learning format is the preferred medium.
Note: Safeti did not receive any financial incentive, commission or commercial benefit from conducting this independent review.