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Health and Safety Qualifications

You might be wondering what you can do to make sure that you are satisfying your  health and safety responsibilities. As an employer, you are legally obliged to hire competent people to manage health and safety in your workplace, and make sure that everyone is well cared-for. But how can you know that your staff are fully competent and well-trained? As an employee, how can you make sure that your CV stands out, and that you can step up to an advanced position of responsibility?

Not to worry – there are a wide variety of health and safety qualifications available to suit everyone’s needs. Depending on the field you are working in, the size of your organisation, and your role, you may be interested in accredited qualifications and certifications, or more specialised training courses suited to a particular area.

This post will outline the reasons for seeking health and safety qualifications, give details of both formally recognised qualifications and more specialised courses, and explain how to get started accessing the training you need.

Why are qualifications necessary?

Whatever your job level or area of work, everyone has at least some responsibility for health and safety, and will benefit from training. If you are in charge of a task that involves a particular hazard, you will need to make sure that you are doing everything you can to keep things safe. If you are a team leader, supervisor, or manager, you need to keep the people you work with safe, and may also want to delegate some health and safety responsibilities to other people. It you are a company owner  or CEO, you have a duty of care to make sure that the health and safety of your workforce is in competent and well-qualified hands.

You might find that health and safety is incorporated into your daily working practice (if you operate machinery or deal with customer service, for example) or your wider work brief (if you work in areas such as HR or management). You might also find that you have oversight over other people’s training and qualifications. If health and safety is something you feel passionate about, you might also be interested in getting a specific job as a health and safety advisor or representative.

Depending on your role, you might find yourself responsible for some of the following:

  • Keeping up-to-date with health and safety laws and regulations
  • Creating Health and Safety policies
  • Ensuring policies and procedures are put into practice
  • Conducting, or cooperating with, inspections and risk assessments
  • Keeping up-to-date with accident records
  • Investigating incidents and recommending improvements
  • Advising on health and safety equipment and protections
  • Writing reports
  • Training employees
  • Liaising with inspectors and trade unions

Getting the right qualifications will help you to perform your role to a high standard, making you a dependable and valued contributor to a positive working environment. The more qualifications you have under your belt, or the more qualified people you have on your staff, the more attractive you will be to work with!

Formally Recognised Qualifications

If you want a qualification that will be widely-recognised by employers and industry peers, NEBOSH, ProQual NVQ, NCRQ, and IOSH qualifications are the way to go.

NEBOSH Qualifications are globally recognised, and focus on the best international practices. They cover general areas of occupational health and safety, and you can progress through three levels (Award, Certificate, and Diploma). NEBOSH exams are available at various locations in the UK and around the world, and international qualifications are also available.

NEBOSH Diplomas (This is equivalent to a university degree):

  • NEBOSH National Diploma in Safety and Health
  • NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health (This is the ‘gold standard’  for people seeking a senior position in health and safety)
  • NEBOSH Environmental Management Diploma

NEBOSH Certificates:

  • NEBOSH National General Certificate (This is the most popular qualification – an essential starting point)
  • NEBOSH National General (NG)
  • NEBOSH Fire Safety Certificate
  • NEBOSH National Construction Certificate
  • NEBOSH Health and Wellbeing Certificate
  • NEBOSH HSE Introduction to Incident Investigation


ProQual NVQ Qualifications are vocational and available internationally. They are equivalent to City & Guilds NVQs. As work-based qualification, they recognise competence according to job performance rather than exams.

  • NVQ Level 6 in Health and Safety
  • NVQ Level 5 in Health and Safety
  • NVQ Level 3 in Health and Safety

NCRQ Qualifications are available for both manager and employees. They use case studies to work through real-life examples of health and safety issues. Courses use a combination or workbooks, online study, and assignments and mini-assessments.

  • NCRQ Safety for Managers
  • Diploma in Applied Health and Safety
  • Certificate in Personal Injury Liability
  • Certificate in Applied Health and Safety

IOSH  Courses and Qualifications are suitable for people in any job or sector, and especially useful for line managers, supervisors, and anyone in charge of a team who wants to be aware of health and safety management systems.

Work-related Health and Safety Qualifications

You will probably also find it useful to top up your formal qualifications with one or more course that relates to a specific aspect of your job. Whether it’s a particular hazard that you have contact with, or how to protect yourself and others in your field or job type, you can benefit from some more targeted training.

You might be interested in getting training in some of the following areas:

  • Fire Safety and Risk Management
  • Occupational health
  • Noise and environmental safety
  • Safe use of machinery and equipment
  • Hazardous substances – Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)
  • Mental Health & Stress Awareness
  • Lone Working and Remote Working
  • Environmental Management and Sustainability
  • Display Screen Equipment Safety
  • Manual Handling & Avoiding Slips and Trips
  • Working at Height
  • Safeguarding Children

There are courses and qualifications to suit all working contexts, so you are bound to find some training that’s right for your needs. With our Online Courses you can get all of your training in one place. The best starting point is getting an introductory level qualification such as the IOSH Managing Safely, which will give you a good overview of health and safety regulations, risk assessment, and accident investigation. From there, you can either move up through the ranks of formal qualifications to diploma level, or tailor your training to fit your personal context.

How to get started with Health and Safety Qualifications

Making sure that you, or your staff, are well-qualified and competent to take care of health and safety can be a positive and constructive process. Finding out what courses are relevant and available is the first step, and then you need to make sure that everyone understands what is required. As an employer, you should be supportive and encouraging of any staff training, and as an employee you should embrace all relevant training opportunities.

For many qualifications, you can continue working while studying, as courses are often part-time, or studied by distance learning online. Otherwise, a short full-time training course might be an option. Make sure that you choose a course run by experienced and well-qualified teachers, who are flexible to your needs and offer good communication and support.

If you are a CEO, Directors, or Senior Manager you need to keep on top of health and laws, responsibilities, and opportunities. Make health and safety part of your networking agenda at conferences, and welcome the advice of expert consultants. If you run a company with multiple staff and departments, you might want to hire someone who can tailor health and safety training to your specific needs.

You know that qualifications are the best way to make sure that you have competent and diligent people in charge of your organisation’s health and safety. Make sure that you know what training is available, and what is appropriate to your company’s needs. It’s useful for everyone to have the most basic general training, but some areas of your work will need more dedicated attention. When it comes to health and safety, you can’t be over-qualified. The more energy you invest in safeguarding the health, safety, and well-being of the people you work with, the more you build a culture of confidence and trust.

Are you interested in accessing health and safety qualifications?  Leave a comment below if you have any questions!

Comments (2)

  1. Eyoh Ubon
    July 14, 2020

    Excellent Alex indeed you have given a break down on all the is required in terms safety qualifications and the parts leading to whichever one you have interest.

    • Alex Burbidge
      July 15, 2020

      Thanks Eyon, Are you working towards a qualification yourself? Regards Alex

Comments are closed.

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