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An Overview of Some Popular Health and Safety Qualifications

A site manager with a workplace health and safety qualification

Are you considering investing in an accredited health and safety qualification but are unsure as to which one will be most suitable for your needs, or even what qualifications and courses are actually available? Then our summary below of some of the most popular health and safety courses and qualifications will be useful, which outline the main characteristics and key benefits of each.

The courses and qualifications covered on this page are:


  • Health and Safety NVQ Qualifications
  • NEBOSH General Certificate
  • NEBOSH Construction Certificate
  • NEBOSH Fire Certificate
  • IOSH Managing Safely


Health and Safety NVQ Qualifications

For many people, the idea of enrolling on an NVQ health and safety qualification is something they are quite unsure of. With so many different kinds of qualification out there to select from, it can become incredibly difficult to choose what is right for you. Given the fact that NVQs are available for so many job roles in a whole host of industries - not just health and safety - means that their list of different qualifications varies greatly, making it a challenge to find the qualification that actually suits your own needs.



What Does This Qualification Entail?

Given the variance in the forms of qualifications of this kind that you can choose from, you need to know what you are picking up and if it fits the kind of industry that you are intending on getting involved in. Typically, though, most people going for an NVQ will find that this can be the most effective way to learn without having to go full-time and give up their job. This is because NVQ qualifications are vocational as opposed to a traditional classroom training course.

Delegates undertake the NVQ by collecting evidence as they carry on with their workplace duties, which takes away the need for time off work to attend training with a tutor. The flip side of this is that only those people already in a job role which satisfies the criteria for enabling them to collect suitable evidence will be able to enroll. Unlike other health and safety qualifications like the NEBOSH General Certificate (see course below) which can be taken by individuals not currently in the health and safety industry and looking to get into it, a health and safety NVQ can only be taken by those already employed in a job role with health and safety responsibilities.

Based on a national set of occupational standards, NVQ qualifications are the gateway into many different industries. As far as NVQs in health and safety are concerned, although a person will already need to be employed in a health and safety job role, acquiring an NVQ qualification will significantly improve the prospects of the individual for promotion and advancement in the industry. This will enable you to achieve employment at a rate of pay you feel that you deserve and qualify for.



How Can It Help Me?

Achieving a health and safety NVQ qualification can be the perfect way to speed things up for you in terms of your professional development.



The Benefits

There are many benefits that can come from having NVQ qualifications, such as;

  • A tool for higher employment. When you take the time to achieve an NVQ, you can open up doors for further advances in a particular industry that were ajar in the past.
  • Get a better standard of responsibility and treatment from our supervisors as you can show them what you are capable of via your certifications. You will have less to prove when you start in a new job role.

In short, using NVQs can be the perfect route forward for your professional advancement in your career.



NEBOSH General Certificate

Unless you are brand new to the world of health and safety certifications, you will no doubt have heard of a NEBOSH Certificate before, especially the NEBOSH General Certificate which is the most popular of them all. It's a common certification held by people within various industries across the UK, and is used for many different kinds of services and jobs.

Without a doubt, NEBOSH qualifications are the most popular form of health and safety qualifications held by individuals across the UK. With more than 150,000 people holding the General Certificate, there are many people out here already qualified to taking on management and supervisory roles within the health and safety industry. If you are interested in going down this path, holding a NEBOSH qualification is only going to improve your chances.



What Does This Qualification Entail?

Although longer in duration and with more assessments at the conclusion of the training than many shorter, less comprehensive and therefore less-respected health and safety courses available in the marketplace, you will find that getting this certification done and dusted can be the push in the right direction that you needed in terms of finding gainful employment in the health and safety industry. Assessment of a NEBOSH General Certificate is divided into three separate units; the first two are held via written examinations whilst the third is carried out via a written report conducted in a real place of work.



How Can It Help Me?

Holding a NEBOSH General Certificate opens many doors for you that previously were slammed shut, including;

1) Get you into the world of health and safety like never before; it's more or less a requirement for the industry now, so it can be the foot in the door that you needed to find employment suited to you. Unlike a health and safety NVQ qualification (see above), candidates do not have to be in a health and safety role already to take the course. In fact, you do not even need to have any previous health and safety knowledge or experience in the industry, as the course syllabus and teaching is designed to furnish delegates with all the knowledge they require to pass the assessments and have a wealth of useful information to transfer into their working life.

2) You'll learn all of the little things that you would have missed without the qualification. The information and knowledge learned is not just a necessity for passing the exams; it's actually something that you can utilise in the workplace to create a safe environment for both yourself and your colleagues to work in.

3) Likewise, you'll get used to the standards and procedures expected of you from each company that you work with, but a NEBOSH qualification such as the General Certificate definitely helps you get there quicker than before.



The Benefits

There are many great benefits that come from holding a NEBOSH General Certificate, including;

  • Ensuring that you are one of just 150,000 people in control of their career trajectory. This is a specialist industry and can be highly lucrative if you find the right position.
  • Understand the requirements of health and safety better than ever, making it easy to stay safety-conscious at work and in the home, as a lot of the information taught is also relevant in the home too such as fire safety or the risks to health from hazardous substances for example.
  • Become a much more attractive prospect in terms of fulfilling health and safety job roles to both current and prospective employers alike. This results in more career choices in the safety industry as you will stand out from unqualified applicants for whom the company would probably have to spend money on training them to the standard which you are already at.


NEBOSH Construction Certificate

Getting involved in the world of construction is, without a doubt, one of the most enjoyable and hands-on career paths that you can go down. The amount of work that you will undertake on a regular basis will make your career truly take off, keeping you engaged and learning all the time.

However, to do something as demanding and potentially dangerous as working in the construction industry you need to have a certain proof that you are capable of working safely on site; for many people in the UK, this is the NEBOSH Construction Certificate.



What Does This Qualification Entail?

The qualification itself takes in many different aspects of the importance of health and safety in a construction workplace. You might think that keeping the hard hat on and wearing a luminous vest is enough, but it's really not. You need to be smarter and safer than ever before if you want to get into the construction industry, and the NEBOSH Construction Certificate will show you just how to do that with the utmost effect.

A NEBOSH qualification will typically have you taking care of all of the things that you might have considered already or expected, but it also gives you access to some key tips that will potentially save the life of yourself or others at some point in the future.



How Can It Help Me?

The reasons that a qualification like this can help you are quite varied - however, they typically include;

  • Showing people in the construction industry that you can be relied upon to work safely and have a level of knowledge which is conducive to a safe site for everyone
  • Making you much more attractive to potential employers and giving you a significant advantage over other applicants for demolition or construction site jobs


NEBOSH Fire Certificate

For anyone who wants to get involved with fire safety within a company or organisation, the NEBOSH Fire Certificate is an ideal qualification. It will provide a course attendee with a plethora of information regarding all aspects of fire safety in a place of work including applicable legislation, fire risk assessments and emergency procedures.

Those enrolling include private individuals looking to attain a qualification to improve their career prospects, as well as current employees from a company who require one or more people to be suitably trained in fire safety measures and need their worker(s) trained in preventing and dealing with fires in the workplace.



What Does This Qualification Entail?

Typically, this course has been completed by more than 6,000 people and this means that if you do get into the program you will be holding a very specific and specialised fire safety qualification. It's ideal for anyone who wishes to ensure that they are meeting fire safety responsibilities, as well as showing potential employers that they have the knowledge and the wherewithal to deal with fire safety issues, with a particular focus on preventing a fire ever taking place.

Similar to the NEBOSH General Certificate, the assessment will require the undertaking of a written examination as well as a practical assignment. This ensures that those who actually achieve the NEBOSH Fire Certificate have understood and retained a suitable level of knowledge which can practically be applied back in the workplace.



How Can It Help Me?

There are various positives that can come from being in possession of a NEBOSH Fire Certificate qualification, and these include;

1) Acquire a wealth of fire safety information which can be used to not only deal with fire-related emergencies when they take place in order to lessen the impact on both human life, contents and the building structure itself, but also to proactively work towards the prevention of an outbreak of fire (prevention is one of, if not the most, important reasons for the provision of health and safety training).

2) Being able to get yourself the right kind of employment opportunity in the future, due to the limited nature of NEBOSH Fire Certificate holders out there.



IOSH Managing Safely

IOSH Managing Safely courses are an extremely popular choice for managers, directors and supervisors in low risk industries who wish to learn more about their responsibilities regarding the health and safety of their employees and those who may be affected by the operations and activities of their company.



What Does This Qualification Entail?

A classroom IOSH Managing Safely course is typically run over three consecutive days and will cover various aspects of managerial responsibilities regarding health and safety in the workplace on the syllabus including such items as:

  • Legal duties/requirements
  • Performing suitable risk assessments
  • Environmental impact of the business
  • Hazard identification
  • Accident investigation


How Can It Help Me?

Although not as detailed or comprehensive as the NEBOSH General Certificate qualification in terms of the amount of health and safety information taught, attending an IOSH Managing Safely course will still provide delegates with a respectable introductory level of health and safety knowledge which a manager or supervisor can put to good use in creating and maintaining a safe place of work for employees and people nearby.




Selected Courses

Please see below for a selection of health and safety courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is the flagship NEBOSH qualification, and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals.

The NEBOSH National Diploma provides the core health and safety knowledge (transferable across industry, commerce and the public sector) which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an occupational health and safety practitioner.

Click Here for More Information


NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular and widely-held health and safety qualifications in the UK. It is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who require an understanding of general health and safety issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK, along with the identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge. The general content of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus means it is suitable and relevant for those working in virtually any industry, and is often used as a solid foundation for those going on to further study and specialising in a particular area such as construction site health and safety or fire safety.

Click Here for More Information


IOSH Managing Safely Course

The IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for managers and supervisors of organisations in virtually all industry sectors, in order to give them all they need to know to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace.

Recently updated, the new high impact programme covers key health and safety issues, and includes references to international case studies.

Click Here for More Information


CITB Site Management SMSTS Course

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is one of the most popular health and safety training courses, and is intended for construction site managers, project managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies.

Client-based personnel would also benefit from attending the SMSTS course.

Click Here for More Information


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