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What is an IOSH Safety Passport?

schedule 19th June 2019 by Virtual College in Health and Safety

Two construction workers, one female and one male, looking at a laptop on site

Health and safety is an important consideration for all workplaces, but competency is particularly necessary in certain industries such as construction, in which accidents and injuries are more likely. As a result there’s a big focus on ensuring that workers have the right skills and knowledge to carry out their job safely. This comes from the authorities, trade bodies, compliance organisations and, of course, individual businesses with their own standards. In order to demonstrate skills and knowledge, there are a number of solutions, most of which are focused around training. One of these is the IOSH Safety Passport, which is a card used by thousands of workers in the UK. In this article, we’re going to look at what this is, the benefits it can bring, and how workers can acquire one.

What is IOSH?

The Institute of Occupational Health and Safety is the world’s largest health and safety membership body, with more than 40,000 members. It’s the UK’s chartered body for those that are responsible for health and safety in the workplace. The organisation’s aim is to be a supporter, trainer and general advocate of these people, and as a result, it has various initiatives and campaigns that it carries out to make their jobs more effective.

The IOSH Safety Passport is one such initiative. It is exactly as it sounds - a card that can be carried around, which shows that the bearer has basic training certifications. It comes dated, with a photo and signature for authentication, as well as a hologram to show that it’s authentic.

What are the benefits of having a safety card?

Cards are particularly useful for those working in the construction industry, as this is one that has extremely stringent health and safety standards and requirements, with potentially a lot of process and paperwork to think about. A site can be a dangerous place to work, with all manner of machinery, tools and materials that can cause injury. This means that businesses that operate on site, and managers in particular, have a responsibility to ensure the safety of those working there.

Establishing whether or not a person is safe to work on site is not easy without some sort of proof of health and safety knowledge, which is why certifications are essential. And naturally, cards are the best way of doing this, as they can easily be taken from site to site, are durable, clear, hard to forge and are generally tamper-proof. They can simply presented on registration or entry to site.

For the individual themselves, having an IOSH card means that they’ve undertaken basic health and safety training, meaning they’re competent enough to work in certain environments. Naturally, this is a benefit in terms of the person’s own welfare, but it does also mean that they’re likely to have better employment prospects, and will find it easier to operate when moving from site to site.

Who needs an IOSH safety passport?

Construction workers are the main focus of this initiative, as a card is hugely useful for site-to-site access as previously mentioned. However, the Passport to Safety training is suitable for people at any level, in any sector, needing a grounding in the essentials of health and safety. Health and safety is a really important part of workplace life, which means that basic training is always a good idea. The training required to gain an IOSH safety passport also conforms completely to the Health and Safety Executive’s ‘passport’ syllabus.

Important: Previously, IOSH safety passports could be used to apply for a CSCS card. However, on 5th May 2017 the Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) announced that it will be suspending the recognition of the IOSH Working Safely certificate via e-learning as an approved route to obtaining the green Labourer card. The same suspension applies to IOSH Passport to Safety.

How long is a safety passport valid for?

As with all types of important training, health and safety knowledge needs to be refreshed from time to time. Individuals can forget elements of their training, standards can change, and new elements can be incorporated into a certification. As a result, IOSH safety passports expire every three years. When they have, individuals will need to re-demonstrate their knowledge, which ensures their own safety, and helps site managers and other health and safety staff to meet their compliance requirements.

IOSH Passport training

In order to get an IOSH safety passport, an individual must demonstrate that they have good health and safety knowledge by taking the right course. The IOSH Working Safely course, or those that cover the same elements, is the one that you will need to take if you want or need one of these cards. Fortunately, these courses are widely available, and here at Virtual College we’re very pleased to be able to bring you a dedicated IOSH Passport to Safety Course. Completion of this e-learning interactive course will mean you can choose from either a card or certificate.

What does training involve?

There are five main elements to IOSH safety passport training. This includes the following:

  • An introduction to working safely - This section of the course means looking at working safely at a top level, and why it’s so important for you, your coworkers and your business to work in a safe manner.
  • Defining hazard and risk - Most health and safety policies and systems are about being able to understand what hazards are and how they create the risk of injury, so you’ll learn about defining what hazards are and what risk is.
  • Identifying common hazards - Most workplace accidents are the result of similar hazards, so it helps to have a good understanding of what the most common ones are and how they can be prevented.
  • Improving safety performance - Good health and safety can only come about through the introduction and following of good policies and processes. The course will help you understand how this works.
  • Protecting our environment - Personal safety is important, but so is the protection of the environment. This often less-considered aspect of health and safety is essential to gaining an IOSH safety passport.
Click here to find out more about the IOSH Passport to Safety course.
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Author: Virtual College

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