As we move towards another NEBOSH Certificate in Fire Safety release and FSC2 practical, the team at RRC have been looking at some advice to hopefully stop some common mistakes being made when writing the practical element (FSC2).
Create a suitable environment
Firstly give yourself head space, get in the zone and make time to complete the practical. This is not something that can be done on a Sunday morning. Make sure your location is big enough to cover all areas, this will help you attract the best amount of marks.
Gather the evidence you need and then sit back and fill in the template. It’s OK if your workplace looks bad on paper. NEBOSH are not judging you, but they want to see how you will address these issues when you pass.
Gather example and guidance
Have the FSC2 practical example and the providers syllabus to hand to use. Use the NEBOSH FSC2 example as a rough guide you can do better https://www.nebosh.org.uk/documents/certificate-in-fire-safety-fsc2-example/fsc2-example-v3-final-130421.pdf.
I would suggest also having the FSC2 guidance for learning partners and learners to hand as this gives vital tips on what to include in the practical: https://www.nebosh.org.uk/documents/certificate-in-fire-safety-fsc2-guidance/fsc2-guidance-v2-final-160421.pdf.
You must include enough detail in this so that the examiner can visualise the location and get a good feel of what is going on. You don’t have to tape measure the floor space but ask and get a general opinion on the size. Describe what the building is made of. A common sticky point is the layout of the building describe the internal corridors, rooms, fire doors, exits. Again examiner needs to be able to see your workplace through words.
The dreaded Yes/No boxes, this is not an area to scrimp on: Does regular inspection and testing take place for electrical equipment (portable and fixed)? Now I could just say yes but this is what the examiner is looking for. If Yes then you need to look at the policy and inspection regime that is in place, reference dates that will be on plugs or equipment, name the company that inspects the electrical equipment and the next service date.
If it’s a No then make reference why this is not in place and how long the electrical equipment has been out of date. Look for policies that are out of date and look at the electricity at work regulations 1989 to see what have been contravened. Make reference to the last testing date and if it was on portable or fixed equipment.
If it’s a Yes tell them as much as you can, if its a NO tell them why it’s a no and add detail.
The continuation table
You can use this section to add any issues of further information that you feel has not been covered adequately in the previous questions.
IMPORTANT: Do not add anything in this table that has not previously been mentioned in section 2.
You need 10 clearly identified issues to make these clear and do not blur together. This is your time to demonstrate that you have understood the lessons and can spot 10 solid issues that could cause problems.
A really common fault is that NEBOSH want you to show your moral, legal and financial arguments in this section (justification). There are three cornerstones of any justification argument: Moral, Legal and financial.
It is beneficial when going through the justification that where possible you use all three areas of this. This will demonstrate that you have looked into legal compliance, you are doing what is morally right to ensure safety and that you are costing the issue to ensure the cost benefit analysis is of sound reasoning. All issues that have been identified should reduce the issue where possible to ALARP.
People falter with review dates and either make them unrealistic or too long. This must be realistic, if the issue is huge, like leaking gas then it should be a short space of time, i/e 1 day. If the issue is re: training then you have to think about how long this will take, i/e 3 months. The examiner will be looking at you applying knowledge here to ensure you understand the hazards and risk and that you can apply reasonable time to get things completed.
You decide when the risk assessment will be reviewed, don’t leave it too long, but give people sufficient time to complete and close actions. Look at what times you have allocated in section 3, if the longest time is 6 months then you cannot review any earlier than that.
Lastly, from all of us at RRC good luck and the devil is in the details, give the examiner something to bite on, detail and explanation are my watchwords for this. Make the examiner see your workplace through your detail and demonstrate you can apply the principles that you learned in FSC1.
Peter Reed CMIOSH, FIIRSM, MIEMA CEnv, FInstLM, GiFE