The Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is a UK based organisation that operates globally. There are approximately 48,000 members internationally working in 130 countries. Established in 1945, the IOSH is recognised as one of the leading Health & Safety organisations in the world.
The UK has a long history of workplace safety legislation and regulation, particularly since the end of the Second World War. For this reason, IOSH as a UK based organisation has a reputation for as a world leader in provision of health and safety courses. Originally formed as division of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), known as the Institution of Industrial Safety Officers, the organisation’s modern name and structure developed in 1981 and it was awarded a Royal Charter in 2002. As would be expected by such a well-established body the IOSH offers a comprehensive range of training courses and offers accreditation to training groups and individuals. High standards are applied to groups that wish to gain accreditation and standards are regularly monitored by the IOSH.
The importance of access to high quality training, information and resources for businesses of all sizes and for individual workers and managers has long been recognised by IOSH. In addition to offering IOSH courses through accredited suppliers the organisation also creates a number of guides, conducts research into safety issues and produces reports that are all available to those working in health and safety. IOSH occupational health tool-kits are free in many cases and cover a wide range of health-related topics both work and non-work related. Guides cover everything from skin conditions to stress and encompass conditions such as heart disease – giving employers and professionals valuable resources to understand these issues and help to manage their own processes in the workplace.
Professional Member of IOSH
Through an established consultation process the IOSH also connects with members, and this provides a platform for industry and professionals to influence Health & Safety policies and legislation on a national and global level. Professional membership of the IOSH is available to Health & Safety Professionals and training organisations at several different levels. Membership at each level requires a minimum qualification – either educationally or vocationally – and is dependent on continued professional development.
Membership levels range from the highest, Chartered Fellow to the lowest, Affiliate Level. In recent years a student member category has also been added and is designed for those studying in the Health & Safety with a view to a career in this industry.
IOSH courses are broadly split into two categories – IOSH Working Safely and IOSH Managing Safely. The focus of each category is fairly self-explanatory, the former being aimed at establishing safe working environments by educating those carrying out processes, whilst the latter is designed to ensure that management practices and company policies are fit for purpose and create a safe working environment. IOSH courses are designed to suit those working in, or managing, any sector. The quality of an IOSH course is considered to be very much the benchmark in the Occupational Health and Safety industry.
Continual development and knowledge of good working practices against a backdrop of in-depth knowledge of the relevant legislation in Health and Safety is a crucial part of everyday working life and this is one of the main benefits of taking an IOSH course.
IOSH courses offered combine current theory and practice and those taking a qualification can be confident that they can effectively apply good, well managed and legally compliant safety practices in their workplace.
Who Should Attend an IOSH Course and Why?
IOSH courses are suitable for all employees, managers, business owners and health and safety professionals. Regardless of your sector the broad aims of IOSH are to reduce injury, time off work due to ill health and, at the very worst, fatalities in the workplace.
Some industries are clearly riskier than others, with heavy industry, construction, agriculture, forestry and fishing industries remaining high risk working environments. In these industries the nature of their processes and/or materials and equipment are a significant reason that work related accidents are not only common but can be more serious.
However, all jobs contain some element of risk, and every company should consider the impact that good health and safety can have on their productivity, staff retention and company image. Unsafe working practices can impact on productivity on a profound level. Badly managed fire risks can lead to disaster surprisingly quickly, cutting productivity to zero overnight and potentially putting you out of business for good.
However, productivity can be affected negatively on a day-to-day basis by poor management of a whole range of smaller health and safety issues. Where unsafe practices are common, staff retention can be a problem which impacts on productivity on a short, medium and long-term basis.
IOSH for Contractors and Freelancers
In the past in-house IOSH courses were often the easiest way to access training and development and being an employee or manager within a firm was the quickest route to receiving this type of training. However, IOSH has moved with the times and IOSH courses are now available online to anybody who wishes to develop their Occupation Health and Safety qualifications and credentials. Having relevant, up-to-date health and safety training can be a real bonus when working as a contractor in a huge range of industries.
IOSH Managing Safely
The IOSH Managing Safely course is three-days in duration which should give those at management or supervisory level – including team leaders – the skills, knowledge and resources they require to competently manage the health and safety needs within a team. Managing safely has a strong focus on identification of hazards, risk assessment and risk control, processes to investigate accidents and to continually monitor risks and adapt or respond to changing situations.
A key aim of the IOSH Managing Safely course is to develop a positive and proactive attitude within teams through effective management of Health and Safety. Creating a positive Health and Safety culture within an organisation is a crucial aim of the course and is vital to all companies to enhance safety and productivity. IOSH Managing Safely courses include the following topics.
IOSH Working Safely
Normally delivered as a single day course the working safely IOSH course is aimed at all employees and is suitable for any industry. The course covers the responsibility of individuals in relation to safe working practices and demonstrates how to identify risks. The course also covers risk control and demonstrates the way in which every individual can contribute to their own safety and that of their colleagues through simple, common-sense activities.
IOSH Working Safely courses focus on the essentials of Occupational Health and Safety. These are broken down into basic areas including identifying hazards, defining/assessing risks, continual improvement of performance.
IOSH Safety for Executives & Directors
The IOSH Safety for Executives & Directors course is a specialized program designed to equip senior management and executives with the knowledge and skills to effectively manage health and safety within their organizations. This comprehensive course goes beyond the basics, focusing on the strategic aspects of leadership in promoting a culture of safety. Participants gain insights into their legal responsibilities, risk management strategies, and the impact of their decisions on the overall well-being of the workforce. Through engaging content and real-world case studies, executives and directors learn how to integrate safety considerations into business operations, fostering a proactive and preventative approach. This course is a vital resource for leaders committed to driving positive change and ensuring the highest standards of occupational health and safety across their organizations.
Does IOSH Expire?
While IOSH certificates themselves may not expire, it is common for professionals to engage in continuous professional development (CPD) to stay current with the latest safety regulations, techniques, and industry advancements. Some employers and industries may also have specific requirements for periodic re-certification or refresher courses to ensure that individuals maintain up-to-date knowledge and skills.
It's important for individuals who have obtained an IOSH certification to stay informed about any changes in their field and consider participating in ongoing training and professional development opportunities to enhance their expertise. Additionally, specific employer or industry requirements should be taken into account to ensure compliance with any re-certification or renewal expectations.