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Health and Safety

What is IOSH?

Luke Pitt - Last Update: 22 Nov 2019


What does IOSH stand for?

Leading through teaching

Collaborations that make a difference

Investing in research



If you have a professional interest in health and safety, subscribe to and be inspired by IOSH's influential work. All its efforts are focused on making safer working environments and cultures for everyone. 

Key points

  • IOSH is a training and learning heavyweight, but also provides consultancy services for government bodies and has a network of partners all around the world
  • It's able to have a strong influence because it invests heavily in research and consults its members for inside expertise about real health and safety issues
  • IOSH' most well-known course is the IOSH Managing Safely Course

What does IOSH stand for?

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is a self-regulating Chartered body.

But it's more than an acronym. It stands for expertise, truth and trust in the face of health and safety issues.

Its status as a Chartered body symbolises its trustworthiness. Why? IOSH keeps company with other Chartered world-leading institutions, including Oxford and Cambridge University. It's recognisable as a centre of excellence for research and learning.

Alongside its academic acclaim is a coveted membership programme. IOSH is the leading membership body for health and safety professionals. It's a self-proclaimed advocate for workers all over the world.

Its vision is to create a safe and healthy world of work for everyone and it consistently achieves its goals by:

1) Leading through teaching
2) Collaborating with people who can make a difference
3) Investing in research

Download the Insider's Guide to IOSH Managing Safely

Leading through teaching

IOSH' health and safety guidance, which is delivered largely through qualifications, but also via helpline support and events, is so reliable you can build an entire career on it.

IOSH occupational safety and health qualifications are sectioned into different levels of expertise - core, management education and executive education.

'Core' refers to fundamental skills. They contain entry-level tools and information you need to work safely. At TSW, we offer IOSH Working Safely course for core learners.

The next tier of training, 'Management education', contains courses designed for those with health and safety responsibilities. That includes Managing Safely and the Managing Safely Refresher - you can study both with TSW.

IOSH Managing Safely is IOSH' most well-known qualification and it has a place in every business. If you want to know more about the relevancy of the qualification and what it would mean more for your career, read about why you should take the IOSH Managing Safely course.

'Executive education' are courses for health and safety leaders, who are responsible for achieving targets and strategy management.

There are a range of other IOSH training courses to deepen your knowledge and understanding or refine your technical skills. Look at its continuing professional development courses for inspiration.

Regardless of the course you take, IOSH shows you how to behave safely and lawfully in the workplace, in any industry, in any role, at any level of responsibility.

For each course, you will receive an accredited certificate proving you're IOSH qualified.

Do you have IOSH competancies?

Last year (2019), IOSH revealed a new competency framework that highlights 69 qualities and skills you need to succeed in health safety. They're split into three categories:

  • Technical
  • Core
  • Behavioural

It's currently working on a self-assessment tool, called Blue Print 2.0.

Collaborations that make a difference

IOSH has meaning beyond the certificates it issues.

To lift health and safety standards, IOSH collaborates with governing bodies and policy-makers, so that its research can translate into official guidelines and create a safer working environment for everyone.

The government will approach IOSH to review occupational health and safety issues. One of its most recent investigations, 'how to manage psychological risks at work,' was commissioned in response to the newly released ISO 45001: 2918 Occupational health and safety management systems.

Its full list of consultations are published on its website, but they are all thought-leading. It relies on the input and expertise of its members to ensure its findings are relevant representative of the real world of working.

IOSH also has a network of trusted organisations and partners in countries all around the world, extending its reach and influence beyond the UK.

Investing in research

It's an influential organisation that offers more than consultation services.

IOSH speaks as one on behalf of its members to inform policy positions. For example, it recently detailed the responsibilities of IOSH members in COVID-19 pandemic and advised 'urgent action' in response to work-related exposure to asbestos.

It's a guiding light for its members, partners and beyond.


IOSH membership gives you a like-minded community to thrive in and critical acclaim from employers.

There are seven levels of membership, starting from the basic affiliate or student membership, which is open to anyone, even beginners.

You have to pay to be part of IOSH's club, but it touts several benefits like the obvious career progression and community, but also the opportunity to become an IOSH trainer and support in times of crisis. 

The Insider's Guide to IOSH Managing Safely