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The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is a membership organisation and authority on promoting best practice in safety within the workplace. Set up in 1945, IOSH is the world’s largest chartered health and safety membership organisation with 100, 000 people looking to become IOSH certified every single year.

IOSH is best known for developing multiple training courses in health and safety, which teaches learners how to identify risks and promote workplace health and safety.  IOSH conducts relevant research and lobbies the government on key issues, making them one of the most knowledgeable and foremost leaders in the industry.

More well-known courses from IOSH include the IOSH Managing Safely and IOSH Working Safely courses, both of which have a strong focus on minimising and managing risk in the workplace. Take a look here for more information on IOSH.

What is IOSH training?

As an examining body and leading membership organisation, IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) provides health and safety training providers with a syllabus and exams for IOSH courses.

Astutis and other health and safety training suppliers then provide IOSH training courses to individuals looking to gain a globally recognised certification.

IOSH training offers individuals the opportunity to enhance their health and safety knowledge and practice safe working and management.

Who are IOSH courses for?

IOSH is the world's leading professional body for those responsible for safety and health in the workplace. They offer courses for everyone, with any level of responsibility, in all companies. Typically people who take on an IOSH course are those who need to have greater awareness of their responsibility for health and safety, including:

  • Managers and supervisory staff: Courses like the IOSH Managing Safely are aimed towards management staff who have a responsibility for ensuring those around them work safely and adhere to health and safety legislation.
  • Sector specific management staff: IOSH also offers courses similar to the IOSH Managing Safely for those in industries that require knowledge of very specific health and safety issues. One example of this would be the IOSH Managing Safely in Aviation.
  • Company directors: Company directors on the other hand are able to take courses like the IOSH Safety for Executives and Directors, allowing them to put health and safety at the core of their management systems.

There are also courses available for staff who aren't in supervisory, managerial or directorial level roles which is where the IOSH Working Safely comes in.  This course is designed to enhance knowledge of health, safety and well-being to help promote a better health and safety culture within the workforce.

For more information on who IOSH courses are for and what courses are available, take a look at this article.

Which IOSH course is right for me/my staff?

IOSH pride themselves on providing a wide range of quality courses and certificates, providing skills that are both useful and relevant in the workplace. However, with so many courses to choose from it can be difficult to know which course is right for you and your staff.

When considering IOSH courses it is important to consider what level of knowledge the applicant needs. For example,  whether they need to know how to work safely, manage health and safety, or even implement health and safety into their company's management systems. Each of these things will determine which course is right for them.

We have a full article providing tips on choosing which IOSH course is right for you which you can read here!

Benefits of getting your staff IOSH qualified

IOSH courses prove popular for a reason - because they raise an awareness of all employees' health and safety responsibilities at any level which can help develop a positive culture in the workplace. All IOSH courses provide a greater understanding of what makes a safe and healthy workplace. This brings great company and individual benefits. 

It can improve productivity and reduce down time and business costs. Quite often, taking on additional courses also provides staff something to focus on and take as their own. Providing this kind of opportunity will enhance staff motivation and happiness, which is reason enough to get your staff certified! Read more about the benefits of getting your workforce IOSH trained

Do IOSH courses expire?

The simple answer to this question is no, IOSH courses do not expire. However, it is recommended that those who pass an IOSH course keep on top of the latest health and safety legislation by taking an IOSH refresher course around every three years after passing the initial course. A popular course is the IOSH Managing Safely Refresher course.

This allows for employers to be secure in the knowledge that their workplace will remain in-line with legislation and be a safe place to work. It also means that staff will continue to invest in best practice in safety, maintaining any reduction in down time and business costs. For more information on refresher courses and IOSH course expiry, take a look here.

IOSH course entry requirements

The great thing about IOSH courses is that they are designed to give everybody the opportunity to be trained in health and safety issues, regardless of their role or previous qualifications. In reality, the only requirement needed for someone looking to take an IOSH course is to have a good working knowledge of the English language.

Despite this, there are specific IOSH courses aimed towards people within different roles, for example, the IOSH Managing Safely is aimed towards those in management or supervisory roles, whereas the IOSH Safety in Aviation is aimed towards those in Aviation related roles. 

So while there are no prerequisites to take an IOSH course, it is important that the correct course is chosen for the individual. For more information on this please take a look at this blog.

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How hard are IOSH courses?

Generally speaking, IOSH courses are not overly difficult. They are designed to be practical and accessible to everyone. Provided you have a good understanding of the English language, you can understand the content and pass them. The shorter 1 day IOSH courses provide an awareness suitable to the job role. The IOSH Managing Safely 3 day course for managers is a level 2 standard but suitable for anybody with team responsibilities and no prior knowledge is required. The IOSH assessments are made up of short answers and multiple choice questions. IOSH Managing Safely also had a risk assessment assignment.

Providing you choose a good course supplier who provides high quality course resources, support and guidance, you or your staff would be able to pass the assessments and also have a good practical understanding to use back in the workplace.

Exam pass marks depend on which IOSH course is taken, but on average they require a pass mark of around 60%, providing everyone with ample opportunity to pass.

Remember, these courses are not intended to be hard, they are intended to test the knowledge learned over the period of the course!

IOSH course study tips

There are many ways you can prepare for taking an IOSH course. Of course, one of these is putting in the study time. On average IOSH advises anything between 16 - 32 hours of study time in order to understand the content and pass an IOSH course, which can be done online or in the classroom - providing greater flexibility. 

We also advise that it is good to try answering practice exam questions which will be part of your course classroom or online provided you have a good IOSH course provider. As with any assessment, make sure you practice, practice, practice.

All in all, provided you develop a clear understanding of the course concepts during the training in class or online,  you are to pass with flying colours!

How can I take an IOSH course?

IOSH courses can be taken both in a classroom and online - which is ideal for those who have other responsibilities and who can't take weeks out of the business in order to pass a certification. Where classroom courses often require 3 days off-site, online courses only require 16 - 32 hours of study which can be completed around existing commitments. 

For businesses looking to get a number of staff qualified but need a flexible training option to suit staff who are based at different locations or work on diverse shift patterns convenient online training is a great solution. An online option is popular with companies where their staff follow a more structured format with tutor support to make sure they pass the IOSH course,  within an agreed deadline. Companies choose this online plus method for IOSH Managing Safely with staff

This form of learning provides the flexibility that comes with online learning, whilst bringing an element of group learning so your staff can support each other. We even offer business discounts for companies looking to pass multiple staff!

Want to know more about online, classroom or Online Plus options? Take a look at this blog!


IOSH exams, assessments and projects

As mentioned previously, IOSH courses and the assessments, projects and exams that come with them are not designed to be hard, in fact quite the opposite! Each IOSH course also comes with its own individual type of assessment.

Many IOSH courses are split into two separate assessments; one being a written test and one being a practical project to demonstrate the teachings of the course. The IOSH Managing Safely for example, ends with a short written exam made up of multiple choice questions, and is followed with a workplace risk assessment project.

Similarly, the IOSH Working Safely course is made up of a multiple choice test and followed by a hazard spotting exercise - made up of 16 questions to be answered within a set time frame.

These types of tests and projects are set up in a way that means applicants demonstrate an understanding of theoretical and practical knowledge, to ensure the teachings of the course will be put to good use.

Take a look at this article for more information on the tests, projects and assessments that form popular IOSH qualifications.

How much do IOSH courses cost?

We all want reassurance that money spent on training is an invaluable investment, especially company managers. Training budgets can often be cut when time are hard. There are a few factors to influence the price of your preferred IOSH course: which course it is and its duration,  method of study - online, class-based, multiple learners in a company and the service offered by the course provider.  

The shorter 1-day courses such as IOSH Working Safely is £95+VAT for online. Classroom courses for IOSH Safety for Executives and Directors will be a higher rate but this is justified for this workshop style course as tutor who takes this course must have a experience in working as a director role or advising for his level. Similarly IOSH Managing Safely classroom course can costs anything between £400 and £800 .

IOSH Managing Safely online plus tests and certification, tutor support can cost £350 + VAT per person. Discounts are offered to businesses looking to qualify a number of staff.

Is there funding available for IOSH courses?

Cost is a major factor that many people consider when choosing to participate in further professional study. One of the key points that people look at when making this decision is how they are going to pay for their course and whether there is any help available to fund the course.

There is limited funding available for IOSH courses. One of the most popular ways to fund courses like this is through corporate funding - i.e. the company you work for funds the course to further their skills and knowledge to the benefit of the company. If you need to present a business case to your manager, use the company benefits presented in this post

However, if you company does not have a learning and development scheme in place there are a limited number of options you can check out to see if you are eligible for funding. Where you live in the UK and your job will determine what funding is available to you.
Take a look at this blog for more details!

What to look for in an IOSH provider?

Choosing a course provider can be a challenge when you aren’t sure what to expect and can be a big responsibility if you are looking to qualify a number of staff within your company. There are however, several things that make for a good IOSH course provider which you should look out for - including:

  • A choice of learning options: Always look for a course provider that is able to facilitate your needs and requirements. Often course providers will provide the option of both online and classroom-based training, but make sure you check this is available before committing to a particular provider.
  • Options for multiple staff: Quite often you will have a number of staff who need to be qualified, and any good provider will support you with this. Providers that offer discounts for several people on a course, or flexible learning options to suit team members, are usually your best option.
  • Quality learning experience: This is arguably the most important factor in a good IOSH course provider. Without a good quality learning experience it is going to be difficult to pass the course. To ensure your chosen provider offers good value for money and a positive learning experience, ask to see testimonials and case studies. Any good course provider will also supply trials of online courses and samples of course materials to help make up your mind.

What to expect from an online IOSH course?

By choosing an online course you will benefit from a flexible learning experience that you can fit in around your other commitments. It means you can take the course at your own pace and in your own home, so you don't have to take time out from work (often a few days) to attend a class-based course.

Choosing online learning also means you won't have a tutor physically teaching you. However, you will still have access to a tutor, as well as media rich content and materials, to help you learn the course content. Your tutor will also be available via phone and email for support, and to set you study tasks to help you pass.

Exams can also be taken online and projects completed in your own workplace, so there is no need to you to travel to a designated exam location.

Online learning can be an ideal solution for businesses looking to qualify multiple staff at a time. The group based flexible learning, together with business discounts quite often makes this option particularly attractive to businesses. 

For more information on what to expect from an online IOSH course take a look at this blog.

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