Health & Safety is easy to sneer at. It has a reputation based on urban myths about the dangers of conkers in playgrounds or overly sharp pencils in office settings or the seemingly pointless rules and regulations that have to be applied in case the one in a million chance accident or incident comes to pass.
Having said that, Health & Safety continues to be a success story. According to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) the figure of 133 worker deaths in the UK during 2013/14 is 19% lower than the average for the past five years. Nevertheless, taken from the perspective of the people involved and their families, these figures are still too high.
As you consider your resettlement route you may well have come across the names: NEBOSH (The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) and IOSH (The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) in relation to particular career routes concerned primarily with health and safety issues. If this is the case, the good news is that your thinking is sound in that Health & Safety is an important concept that spans all industries and all sectors and can either be the basis for a career in a Health & Safety specialist role – or simply as a way to make you more attractive to any number of employers that (all) have a legal obligation to protect their workforce from accident or injury at work.
NEBOSH offers a comprehensive range of globally-recognised qualifications designed to meet the health, safety and environmental management needs of all places of work, irrespective of business type or sector and whether they are private or public companies or organisations.
Qualifications gained through the 600-plus accredited course providers are recognised by relevant professional membership bodies including IOSH (see later) and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM). Such is the reputation and value of NEBOSH qualifications that courses attract around 50,000 candidates annually, with exams taken in over 110 countries around the world.
NEBOSH examinations and assessments are set by its professionally qualified staff assisted by external examiners; most of whom are Chartered Safety and Health Practitioners or Chartered Environmentalists operating within industry, the public sector or in enforcement.
Making the workplace safe
IOSH is the largest health and safety membership organisation in the world, with over 44,000 members and is the only chartered body for health and safety professionals. The main aim of IOSH is to create: “A world of work which is safe, healthy and sustainable” through the delivery of IOSH training courses – and indeed, more than 130,000 people take one of their accredited courses every year.
IOSH works with organisations at home and overseas to raise awareness and standards that will contribute to keeping people safe in their various workplaces; not just through courses but also by providing guidance and advice, as well as campaigning and lobbying governments and policy makers regarding health and safety issues.
Nevertheless, a large part of what IOSH aims to achieve is based on delivering knowledge and experience where it’s needed through qualified working professionals. IOSH regards its members as something of an accumulated force for good allowing them to push for changes and improvements at a national and international level. (IOSH health and safety training courses are delivered by over 1,700 licensed training organisations and in-house teams across the UK and overseas.)
IOSH and NEBOSH are based around a similar ethos – to pass on health and safety assessment skills. The essential difference is that IOSH certification is for people who are looking for careers in sectors where health and safety will be an (important) aspect of what they do, whilst NEBOSH is more appropriate for individuals looking at taking courses from which to move into a specific career in Health & Safety.
Management of health and safety issues in the workplace is a legal obligation, but it also makes good business sense, so having Health & Safety experience and qualifications could make you a much more attractive prospect for employers, even if you have no intention of becoming a Health & Safety professional.
NEBOSH and IOSH both run courses in partnership with CTP (Career Transition Partnership):
NEBOSH General Certificate
Successful students will be eligible for Associate Membership of IOSH.
The course provides underpinning knowledge of Health & Safety related topics and teaches the skills and techniques through which health and safety procedures are implemented in the workplace, including:
The foundations, policy and organising of Health & Safety in the workplace.
Promoting a Health & Safety culture, risk assessment and principles of control.
Movement of people and vehicles, manual and mechanical handling, work equipment, electrical, fire, construction, chemical and biological hazards physical and psychological hazards, incident investigation, monitoring and review.
The course is open to all Service personnel, but is particularly suitable for those with supervisory experience or responsibilities in a Health & Safety environment. (Students may wish to visit www.nebosh.org.uk for syllabus information and past exam papers, and prepare for the intensive academic demands of the course.) ‘Introduction to Health & Safety at Work’ by Philip Hughes and Ed Ferrett, (Butterworth) is issued as a handbook.
Managing Safely (IOSH)
This course is designed for people in supervisory or managerial positions who need a broad understanding of the principles and practice of Health & Safety matters in the workplace.
The following topics are covered during the course:
• Introducing managing safely.
• Assessing risks.
• Controlling risks.
• Understanding your responsibilities.
• Identifying hazards.
• Investigating accidents and incidents.
• Measuring performance.
• Protecting our environment.
The course is open to all Service personnel, but is particularly suitable for those Service-leavers planning a second career in line management. Candidates may wish to visit www.iosh.co.uk for syllabus information.