Last updated: 17.07.22

What is IOSH Working Safely?

What is IOSH Working Safely?

Health and safety plays a large role in every business worldwide, with the well-being of employees in the workplace being the main focus. Whilst it is employers that have the main legal responsibility for their staff’s health and wellbeing at work, employees are also responsible for working in as safe a way as possible in their jobs and ensuring that they follow any and all health and safety guidance they have been given.

IOSH is an organisation that has created a range of workplace health and safety courses intending to help employees across every industry stay safe at work, as well as providing employers with a trusted selection of training resources that they can offer their staff. IOSH Working Safely is one of their best-known and most popular courses, designed for anyone without any kind of background in workplace health and safety.

In this article, we share more information about what is involved in IOSH Working Safely, along with the benefits of this course and how long the qualification lasts.

What is IOSH Working Safely?

The IOSH Working Safely course is typically a one-day course which aims to cover all the essential health and safety best practices. It is designed to help businesses maintain a suitable working environment within practically all types of organisations.

An IOSH Working Safely course consists of five individual, interactive modules:

  • An introduction to working safely
  • Defining ‘hazard’ and ‘risk’
  • Identifying common hazards
  • Improving safety performance
  • Protecting our environment

Each one of these modules helps to build a broader awareness of what hazards and risks are within the workplace and how to avoid them becoming bigger issues. More details of what is involved in each section are below.

Introducing Working Safely

The first module of the course is an introduction to workplace health and safety and why it’s so important. It also covers the duties of employees and employers under the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and explains how completing the course helps you comply with this.

Defining Hazard and Risk

This module focuses on the terms ‘hazard’ and ‘risk’ and explains what they mean in relation to a risk assessment. It then introduces the idea of a risk assessment, explains the situations in which this is necessary, and outlines the process you need to follow to complete one.

Identifying Common Hazards

Identifying hazards is another important part of a risk assessment, which is why there is an entire module dedicated to it. COSHH is also covered in this module, along with other legislation that relates to common workplace hazards.

Improving Safety Performance

This module explains why health and safety management systems are important and how they function in a workplace. It also talks about the best way to monitor health and safety at work and the best approach to take if you notice something that could be improved.

Protecting Our Environment

This final module talks about how health and safety in the workplace contribute to looking after the environment. It covers how unsafe actions in the workplace can have an environmental impact and then gives guidance on how employees can ensure that they avoid this damaging behaviour.

You can complete IOSH Working Safety either online or in person. Both course formats give you the same qualification at the end, so whichever you choose depends on the time you have available and whether you have a preferred method of learning.

If taking the course in person, the training will last around a day. If you study the course online, it will take you between 5 and 6 hours to complete.

IOSH Working Safely is assessed with a short multiple-choice questionnaire and a hazard spotting exercise.

What are the Benefits of Doing the IOSH Working Safely Course?

IOSH recognises that businesses have many responsibilities when it comes to health and safety. Therefore, the IOSH Working Safely course is designed to help businesses meet their responsibilities and needs as set by legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999).

Upon successfully completing the course, you will be awarded a certificate authenticated by IOSH to show you now have an awareness of the basics of health and safety. This certificate is recognised by the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS), which is a necessary requirement when applying for a CSCS card required to work on a UK construction site.

This certificate also carries the same accreditation as the IOSH Passport to Safety and acts as evidence that you have achieved the necessary training required to meet the health and safety standards set by IOSH.

Another, clear benefit of doing the IOSH Working Safely course is that it gives you the appropriate training and knowledge to work safely in a range of environments. This prevents accidents, saves time and money and enhances productivity so that you can work to the best of your abilities without any risk to yourself or others.

Completing IOSH Working Safely is also a great way to start a career in the health and safety industry. The course offers a fantastic foundation of knowledge on which you can build, and is recognised in many different countries by lots of employers.

If you’re an employer, supporting your employees through taking an IOSH course is a great way to ensure that you’re complying with health and safety legislation that requires all staff to have been given the appropriate training to safely do their job in the workplace. It also demonstrates that you care about keeping your employees safe, which is a real benefit when it comes to hiring new staff and establishing a reputation as being a good place to work.

IOSH is also a qualification that never runs out, which makes it excellent value for money.

What Level Is IOSH Working Safely?

IOSH Working Safely is recognised as being equivalent to a Level 1 health and safety qualification. This is because it offers foundational knowledge about staying safe in the workplace and is suitable for any employee working in the majority of industries, regardless of their background or experience.

The next qualification up from that is the IOSH Managing Safely course, which is a Level 2 qualification. You don't need to have completed the IOSH Working Safely course to complete this one, but it is catered toward those in managerial roles that have more of a responsibility for other employees.

If you want to complete a qualification at a higher level, the IOSH Level 3 Certificate in Safety and Health for Business is a highly recommended course.

How Long Does an IOSH Certificate Last?

There is no expiring date on the certificate you get for completing IOSH Working Safely. Therefore, this certificate is always technically valid and doesn't have to be renewed.

Whilst this is true, IOSH and other health and safety providers tend to recommend that you retake training courses every three years. This is because the content of these courses might change based on new legislation or developments in the industry, or because you may have forgotten the specifics of what you learnt in the course over three years.

Therefore, it’s recommended that if you’re continuing to work in a role where health and safety in the workplace are important, it’s a good idea to get a new IOSH Working Safely certificate every 3 years.


What Does IOSH Stand For?

IOSH stands for the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health. This institute represents the world’s largest health and safety organisation out there, operating in 99 separate countries to ensure that workplaces provide a safe and sustainable working environment.

Is IOSH a qualification?

Any IOSH training course that you successfully take part in gives you an internationally recognised qualification, and this includes the IOSH Working Safely course. This qualification also gives you a certificate as evidence that you have completed and passed the course, which is also a recognised qualification by the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) 

Is IOSH internationally recognised?

IOSH is a global chartered body for safety and health professionals, with branches in almost 100 countries across the world. This means that it is an internationally recognised certification, although there may be other, regionally accredited qualifications that you need to gain alongside it to qualify for certain things in your home country.


IOSH is an incredibly valuable health and safety training course that is accessible for almost everyone thanks to the fact that it can be completed either in person or online. Whilst some of the topics covered in the course may seem like common sense or feel irrelevant to your role, it provides a foundation of health and safety knowledge that can be taken into a wide range of industries and is a really useful qualification to gain if you’re beginning a career in a sector related to health and safety.

For more information on this course, check out our IOSH Working Safely course which is fully accredited by the Institution of Occupational Health and Safety.