What Is The Best Health and Safety Qualification?

Not all jobs need the same health and safety training so there are several health & safety qualifications available to cover the requirements of different roles. Two of the biggest health and safety exam providers are IOSH and NEBOSH.

What is IOSH?

IOSH stands for the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. They are the only Chartered body providing health and safety guidance and qualifications. They can trace their history back to 1954 so are well-known throughout the industry as a provider of high quality health and safety advice.

IOSH offer a range of courses, some such as “Leading Safely” are aimed at proving managers with an overview of health and safety concerns. Other IOSH courses, such as “Fire Safety Awareness” cover specific areas of interest. They also offer the “NCFE IOSH Level 3 Certificate in Safety and Health for Business” which is an OFQAL-regulated course.

What is NEBOSH?

NEBOSH is the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health. They were established in 1979 as the National Safety Examinations Board and today they offer certificates and diplomas in all areas of health and safety.

NEBOSH courses have three levels of accreditation – Award, Certificate and Diploma.


The Award level provides a basic understanding of health and safety issues and is suitable for employees who need to be aware of risks.

NEBOSH Certificate

Certificate is a higher level of qualification which is suited to managers who may need to perform risk assessments and as a first step towards a career in health and safety.

NEBOSH Diploma

The Diploma is an internationally recognised professional qualification obtained by health and safety professionals. Successful graduation of the Diploma course meets the academic requirements for membership of the IOSH. There are national and international variants of the general diploma and a separate diploma in environmental management.

Finding the right course

If you are looking for health & safety qualifications in the UK then your first step needs to be to work out if there are legal requirements for you to perform your job. You can then search for health and safety training courses covering the right material.

Many other professional bodies offer qualifications in specific areas of health and safety such as IPAF that covers powered access, CPCS that offer training around construction machinery and ECITB Safety Passport that provides the engineering industry with a standardised basic level of health and safety awareness.

Knowing the most relevant Health and Safety qualification to the type of work you are doing is vital to ensuring you don’t waste your budget on courses that do not completely fit the bill.