Choosing an IOSH course. Which one should I do?
IOSH courses can broadly be split into two main groups: General and Specific. While both types are endorsed by IOSH, the difference between these two groups is that the general courses address occupational health and safety in a broader environment, whereas more specific IOSH courses are designed to address health and safety concerns within more niche or dangerous fields of work such as construction and the environment.
General IOSH courses:
Selecting the correct IOSH course can be tricky and it is useful to remember that the courses are often focuses around particular positions or job roles.
These three levels of General IOSH course are:
• IOSH Working Safely - for those in positions where health and safety is a consideration, but who are not managing others
• IOSH Managing Safely - for those in management positions, such as managers, supervisors and safety advisors
• IOSH Directing Safely - for those in higher responsibility positions such as Directors or Senior Executives. Also known as the IOSH Safety for Senior Executives & Directors course.
Once you have assessed the correct level of IOSH course for you, how do you decide on which course to complete?
IOSH Working Safely
This is a general occupational health and safety course, with no prerequisites, from the perspective of the worker. The working safely course covers five modules of safe practices including:
• Identifying hazards
• Preventing risks
• Awareness of health and safety at work
• Improving safety
• The environment
Topics covered in this course include:
• Identifying common hazards and how to deal with these such as fire, electricity, slips trips and falls, noise, chemicals and work traffics,
• Risk assessments,
• Using precautions for specific tasks,
• How to improve safety performance,
• Permits to work
• Emergency procedures
• Health check
• Accident reporting
• Contract work
• Protecting the environment
• Waste control
• Pollution control
It is assessed by a short 10 question, a multiple-choice test and a practical hazard perception exercise. Successful candidates will receive a choice of either an IOSH Working Safely Passport or certificate once they have successfully completed the course.
Is IOSH Working Safely for me?
IOSH Working Safely is designed to promote safe working behaviours by fostering a positive attitude of awareness. It is relevant to a range of work functions and roles. If you want to improve your health and safety awareness this could be the course for you!
IOSH Working Safely courses are often run in-house where an organisation has multiple delegates, and it can often be difficult to find spaces on open courses.
In addition to the course above there are a number of Working Safely IOSH courses to suit more specialised needs. These include:
• IOSH Working Safely in Facilities Management, which focuses on the health and safety aspects associated with commercial properties
• IOSH Working Safely for Middle Management is particularly aimed at mid-level managers concerned with writing COSHH assessments
• IOSH Working with Environmental Responsibilities includes the key aspects of environmental management and is best suited to those working in sector where preventing environmental damaging is a concern.
IOSH Managing Safely
The IOSH Managing safely course usually lasts for four days.
• An overarching management plan and responsibilities,
• Assessing and controlling risk,
• Identifying potential hazards,
• How to correctly investigate accidents,
• How to assess health and safety performance
• Protecting the environment.
Topics covered in this course include:
• Setting health and safety goals for your company and how to achieve these
• Health and safety auditing
• Key legislation for managers
• Common workplace hazards
• Principles of safety management
• Causes of accidents and prevention
• Improving health and safety performance
• Communication skills to ensure that health and safety is accounted for
Managing Safely IOSH courses are assessed in two ways. The first is a 45-minute exam comprising of 20 questions conducted in exam conditions. The second is a practical assessment, testing the delegates’ skills in applying what they have learnt in the course to their own workplace. Successful completion of both of these elements results in a pass and subsequent IOSH certificate.
Is Managing Safely for Me?
IOSH Managing Safely covers health and safety issues across a range of work situations including office environments. Like Working Safely, Managing Safely courses are often run in-house and it can be difficult to find spaces on open courses.
In addition to the general IOSH Managing Safely course, there are a number of managerial level courses designed for more specialised fields. These include:
• IOSH Managing Safely for Construction
• IOSH Managing Safely for Construction Design Management (CDM)
• IOSH Managing Environmental Responsibilities
• IOSH Managing Safely for Facilities Management.
All these courses run over four days, except for the CDM course which runs for 3 days.
IOSH Directing Safely
IOSH Directing safely is another single day course, aimed at senior executives and directors. The purpose of the course is to provide top level decision makers with the knowledge and skill to effectively deal with health and safety in their organisation.
• Management of health and safety
• Causes of accidents
• Legal requirements and associated penalties
• Financial aspects of occupational health and safety
Topics covered in this course include:
• Health and safety strategy
• Responsibilities of both directors and employees
• Identifying and minimising hazards
• Risk assessments
• The consequences of poor health and safety management
• Communicating with people for good health and safety
• Reasons for promoting health and safety in the workplace
• Definition of a director’s role in health and safety
• Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
• Strategic management and planning
• The need for health and safety training
• Active monitoring
Assessment for this course is by a short exam paper at the end of the day. Successful candidates will receive the IOSH certification
Is IOSH Directing Safely for me?
This course is only available to those in a higher-level management position. The core focus is around the obligations of directors or senior executives in relation to promoting and preserving health and safety in the companies for which they work.
Specific IOSH courses
The more specific IOSH courses available are aimed at those working in or around niche environments such as Construction. These include:
• IOSH Managing Client / Contractor Relationship
• IOSH Managing Safely in Construction
• IOSH Working with/Managing Environmental Responsibilities
The three-day IOSH Managing Client / Contractor Relationship course is for suitable for you if are dealing with clients and contractors and where you need to be up to date on your responsibilities under the current UK legislation.
IOSH Managing Safely in Construction is particularly tailored to a construction context as it is suited to those who are concerned with health and safety and Construction Design and Management (CDM).
If you are responsible for environmental concerns within your organisation, then the IOSH Environmental Responsibilities options may be the most applicable. This course is available at both management level (IOSH Managing Environmental Responsibilities) and employee level (IOSH Working with Environmental Responsibilities). This course at either level is designed ensure candidates are aware of how to practically identify and minimise risks to an impact on the environment.
The Environmental Responsibilities course varies in length depending on the level chosen; Management is typically four days in length, whereas the Worker course is shorter, usually a single day. Topics covered differ between the two depending on which level you are working towards, but both do focus on environmental legislation, the impact of business on the environment and how to implement, evaluate and control an environmental management system.
Assessment of this course is by workplace project and a short exam.
A key advantage of taking a managerial level IOSH course is that once you have achieved the full qualification, you can keep updated with changes to legislation by completing a refresher course.
IOSH Courses are delivered on both an in-house and open course basis. This means that individual candidates can attend courses run locally at training providers’ venues. It also means that if there is a larger group of candidates from a company or other organisation a training provider can come and deliver the course at their site. There is also an e-learning option available for the IOSH Managing Safely course, perfect for those who cannot spare time away from work or for whom travel is problematic.
Who are IOSH?
IOSH are the largest chartered health and safety body worldwide, with training courses designed for professionals engaged in maintaining health and safety in a work environment.