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People often ask us about the difference between IOSH and NEBOSH, is one better than the other? Which qualification should they go for? And, what are IOSH and NEBOSH? Hopefully, this article can shed some light, help you make a decision on the qualification best for you, and give you some helpful advice.

What does IOSH stand for?

IOSH stands for Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, the Chartered body for health and safety professionals. IOSH is a UK-based organisation offering professional qualifications in order to raise standards of health and safety in the workplace. IOSH is the world’s largest health and safety membership body. With 44,000 members in 99 countries,

IOSH Courses

IOSH training courses help people in all sectors stay healthy and safe at work. Two IOSH training courses that are available are : Working Safely and Managing Safely:

  • The Working Safely course is aimed at all employees and covers the essentials of health and safety in the workplace.
  • The Managing Safely course is aimed at managers, team leaders and supervisors, and gives them the knowledge and skills to manage health and safety within their teams.

IOSH training courses combine up-to-date theory and practice to enable around 100,000 people a year to earn qualifications. Earning an IOSH qualification will allow the holder to ensure that the health and safety practices in their workplace are current, effective and well managed.

What is IOSH Managing Safely?

IOSH Managing Safely is a three-day course that gives managers and supervisors the knowledge and skills they need to manage health and safety within their teams. IOSH Managing Safely covers responsibilities for health and safety, hazard identification, assessing and controlling risks, accident investigation and measuring performance. IOSH Managing Safely gives managers the confidence to drive health and safety performance within their teams and to improve the health and safety culture of their organisation as a whole.

What is IOSH Working Safely?

IOSH Working Safely is a one-day course covering the essentials of health and safety in the workplace. It is aimed at all employees in all types of organisation. IOSH Working Safely looks at people’s responsibilities for health and safety, workplace hazards and risks, and how to control them. IOSH Working Safely shows how everyone can make a difference to their own and others’ well being through everyday actions.

A quick note on IOSH membership

NEBOSH doesn’t offer membership, so if you’re looking to join a membership organisation where you can network, keep up to date with health and safety, and gain advice and expertise then IOSH is probably your best option. It brings with it plenty of benefits but how much you can benefit really depends on your situation and career goals, It’s also worth mentioning that, while anyone can become an IOSH member, to get higher levels of membership such as Associate or Technical membership you need to have a health and safety qualification. They accept quite a few different qualifications, The NEBOSH National General Certificate is one of them, and with 92% of job roles asking for either the NEBOSH qualification, IOSH membership or both, it could be worth using the NEBOSH for your membership.

What does NEBOSH stand for?

NEBOSH stands for National Examination Board in Occupational Health and Safety. NEBOSH is a UK-based independent examination board delivering vocational qualifications in health, safety & environmental practice and management. NEBOSH does not deliver courses. It develops syllabuses for its qualifications and sets methods of assessment, such as examinations and practical coursework. Courses are delivered by NEBOSH Accredited Course Providers like SOA Safety. NEBOSH is a globally recognized qualification in Health Safety and Environment. The course is intended to provide Managers, Supervisors and Employees who require a broader knowledge of risk management and understanding of health and safety principles and practices.

NEBOSH Qualifications

Each year over 30,000 candidates take a course that leads to a NEBOSH qualification, and courses are offered in 33 countries around the world – so if this is something that you are considering you’re not alone! NEBOSH qualifications range from introductory Health and Safety at Work Qualification to the professional safety practitioner level NEBOSH Diploma.

What is the NEBOSH Certificate?

The NEBOSH General Certificate is the UK’s most popular health and safety qualification. Because it’s so well known and highly regarded it’s ideal if you’re looking to launch a career in safety – and although it’s useful to have some prior knowledge there are no formal entry requirements. The course itself is divided into three units, the first two are assessed by exams and the third one by a practical assessment. Once successfully completed candidates meet the academic requirements for Technical Membership of IOSH (Tech IOSH) and associate membership of the IIRSM. For those working overseas, the increasingly popular NEBOSH International Certificate replaced UK based law with international standards and management systems.

What is the NEBOSH Diploma?

The NEBOSH Diploma is a prestigious and highly respected qualification, ultimately enabling Chartered (CMIOSH) status. Divided into four units (three assessed by exams and one by an assignment), it’s a rigorous and demanding course which never the less grows in popularity as safety professionals continue to recognise the benefits of holding such a qualification. There are alternative routes to CMIOSH status but arguably the diploma remains the most highly regarded and transferable across job role and sector and therefore stands candidates in good stead for the future. That said, the cost and time out of the workplace represent investments that inevitably not all workplaces will support, in which case the NVQ Level 5 may be worth considering.


IOSH and NEBOSH correspond on many levels but are ultimately doing different things. With more than 90% of health and safety jobs requiring licensed training from one of these bodies, however, a certification from either will be invaluable for the health and safety competence of you and/or your organisation.

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