What Is In The IOSH Managing Safely Syllabus (Course Content)?

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The IOSH Managing Safely syllabus covers how to investigate accidents and incidents, influence safety culture at work, assess risks, and measure success

The syllabus’ course content contains two units – the first is learning in a classroom environment with an expert trainer. The second is the practical application of what you’ve learnt, in a work-based risk assessment.

Key points:

  • The IOSH Managing Safely syllabus covers the basics of risk management across eight modules and topics.
  • At the end of studying the course content, there are two assessments – a multiple-choice, closed-book exam and a risk assessment project.
  • If you pass both assessments, you’ll gain a level two IOSH qualification and certificate. You can move onto a level three qualification, for instance, NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety.

Download your free guide to the IOSH Managing Safely Course

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A syllabus built around identifying hazards and preventing accidents

The IOSH Managing Safely syllabus balances theory and practical examples over seven areas. Your focus will largely be on investigation and assessment, safety culture, environmental concerns and measurement.

Throughout the course, you’ll learn how to identify different types of hazard and decide how to control them. You’ll use a risk assessment to communicate the likelihood of accidents, list the potential consequences and apply controls. Among many other hazards, you’ll think about:

  • Where could you slip, trip or fall?
  • Which equipment, tools, or chemicals can cut, burn, or shock?
  • When is violence or aggression a possibility?

IOSH Managing Safely modules & content

The syllabus has seven modules:

  1. Module one: Introduction to Managing Safely
  2. Module two: Assessing risks
  3. Module three: Controlling risks
  4. Module four: Understanding responsibilities
  5. Module five: Understanding hazards
  6. Module six: Investigating incidents
  7. Module seven: Measuring performance

Module one: Introduction to Managing Safely

In the opening module, you look very broadly at what health and safety is.

You’ll review your responsibilities and accountability for keeping the workplace and the people in it, safe.

You’ll learn about health and safety from a moral, legal and financial perspective. At the end of this module, you’ll know why effectively managing health and safety is critical for business success.

Module two: Assessing risks

The risk assessment module shows you how to:

  • Distinguish between a hazard, hazardous event and a risk
  • Assign a likelihood value between one and five
  • Assign a consequence value between one and five
  • Understand the risk assessment process
  • Use the risk rating system and calculator

At the end of the module, you’ll see the benefits of carrying out a risk assessment and know how to assess and control risks in the workplace.

Module three: Controlling risks

In the controlling risks module, you’ll be introduced to ‘reasonably practicable’. It refers to your legal obligation, under the Health and Safety Act 1974, to reduce risks in the workplace so that everyone is safe.

But, it’s not at any cost. You’ll learn how to balance the money and time needed to manage the risk to create a reasonable action plan.

You’ll discover:

  • The risk matrix: A method of evaluating risk, defining its probability and the severity of the consequence.
  • The hierarchy of risk control: A system that reduces exposure to hazards.
  • Inherent risks: The risk a hazard would pose if you did nothing.
  • Residual risk: After the inherent risks are removed, these are dangers still posed by the hazard.
  • Safety Systems of Work (SSW): A safety process to catch all hazards and reduce risk.
  • Permits to Work (PTW): Management systems designed to control risk, so workers get the job done safely.
  • What happens in an emergency?

Module four: Your legal responsibilities

Lawfully, your business is responsible for keeping you and your colleagues safe. In this module, you’ll learn about the Health and Safety Act 1974 and distinguish between criminal and civil health and safety laws.

With your newfound health and safety skills, you’ll know how to predict reasonably foreseeable risks:

  • Common knowledge: Someone with no health and safety experience would spot the risk, for example, standing on a cliff edge
  • Industry knowledge: You’d see the risk if you had industry experience, for example leaving heavy machinery on a trench edge
  • Expert knowledge: You’ll only see the risk if you have many years of experience in the field, for example, unsafe use of Polyvinyl Chloride

You’ll also learn how to create, introduce and manage a health and safety management system using the plan-do-act-check system.

Module five: Identifying hazards

The six hazard categories that are the focus of this module:

  • Mechanical
  • Physical
  • Chemical
  • Environmental
  • Biological
  • Organisational

You’ll tackle common hazards and discuss how they affect the workplace and what you can do to manage them.

Module six: Investigating accidents and incidents

Initially, you’ll learn how to separate incidents, accidents and near misses.

You’ll also be introduced to HSE’s Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences 1995 regulations (RIDDOR) – it tells you who is responsible for reporting serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and near misses.

You’ll review the structure of incident investigation and the benefits of scrutinising every incident.

This module also covers the use of accident ratios – the rate of incidents and accidents per employee – and ‘accident triangles’, the theory behind accident prevention,

You’ll know how to define the cause of an incident – whether it’s an immediate, underlying or root cause – and how to report it.

Module seven: Measuring performance

In this module, you’ll be introduced to auditing, defining performance indicators, and gathering evidence:

  • What is good health and safety performance?
  • Which metrics will help you to measure and improve the health standards in your workplace?
  • What’s the difference between ‘proactive’ and ‘reactive’ performance indicators?
  • What’s the difference between an internal and external audit?
  • What evidence can you use during an audit?

Course assessments

There are two assessments at the end of the course.

  • The first is a multiple-choice exam, which asks for one-word answers. It’s a closed-book exam that takes around 45 minutes.
  • The second assessment is a practical risk assessment project that you can take away from the course and work on back at your day job. The project must be completed within two weeks of the end of the course.

If you complete and pass both assessment elements, you’ll get an IOSH Managing Safely certificate, which is internationally recognised and awards you a level two health and safety qualification.

You can move onto level three A Level-equivalent with IOSH, but a popular next step is the challenging NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety.

Eight learning outcomes

IOSH guarantees that when you complete the course, you’ll have achieved eight learning outcomes:

  1. Describe why you should manage safety and health in the workplace
  2. List the key terms relating to health and safety and describe what they mean and why they’re relevant
  3. Know which laws are relevant to your work and how they impact health and safety in the workplace
  4. Understand how to assess, reduce and control risk in the workplace
  5. Spot workplace hazards and risks, know how they’ll affect anyone who encounters them, and learn how to manage them
  6. Identify how to respond to and evaluate an incident
  7. Understand the benefits and characteristics of a health and safety management system
  8. Describe the principles that define good health and safety

Get started by downloading your free guide to the IOSH Managing Safely Course today

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Any further questions?

If you’d like to know more about IOSH, the IOSH courses we offer and whether they’re the right course for you and your organisation, take a look at our IOSH FAQ page or get in touch with our team of IOSH experts. 

We also have a great guide to IOSH membership – IOSH’s member levels will help you map your (or you staff’s) journey in Health and Safety.

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Matthew Channell
Matthew is TSW Training’s Commercial Director. He writes about performance focussed learning, leadership, and management approaches that have real-world, sustainable impact.
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