NEBOSH or IOSH - Health and Safety Course Fundamentals

Which is right for me? NEBOSH or IOSH?

With Health and Safety becoming a hugely important topic of late, not just in the workplace but in everyday life - Phoenix Health and Safety will be releasing a series of posts that cover the basics of Health and Safety courses, the professional bodies associated, what kind of impact this can have in your professional and home life and what the courses entail. Whether you're looking at what's around or trying to decide if you should go for a NEBOSH or IOSH course, this post is for you.

If you've got questions about health and safety courses, hopefully our series of blogs will help you determine what the right course of action would be for you. In the first instance, whether you're looking to send your employees on health and safety courses or looking to enhance your own career by taking IOSH or NEBOSH courses, knowing the difference is certainly going to help. NEBOSH vs IOSH


NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) is the UK based Examination board that offers vocational qualifications in health and safety, together with environmental practice and management. The organisation also holds charitable status. Founded in 1979, NEBOSH qualifications are recognised by major professional membership bodies including IIRSM and IEMA.

IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) is a professional membership organisation for health and safety professionals. Not-for-profit, the institution is independent and was originally known as the Institution of Industrial Safety officers when it was founded in 1953.

Both are part of the OSHCR which is a public register of UK based health and safety advice consultants. Learning NEBOSH and IOSH

Main Differences

NEBOSH qualifications tend to be more comprehensive in both course length and subject matter, where IOSH offer more modular courses. The most basic of IOSH courses would take 3 days to undertake, with an exam at the end, where NEBOSH is a more intensive study period of 7 weeks.

IOSH is typically built for non-health and safety personnel who are looking to increase their workplace efficiency and manage risk and resources. NEBOSH is designed for health and safety professionals who already have a career in the industry to achieve a professional certification at a high level.

If you're a team member or manager looking to get up to speed on health and safety fundamentals, IOSH could be for you. If you're already qualified or working as a health and safety professional and have other accreditation then NEBOSH is likely to be best for you.

NEBOSH or IOSH Classroom or E-Learning

Standard of Learning

The idea behind IOSH is to achieve a good standard by taking a course in Health and Safety, with the option to take more in a modular approach. Within IOSH there are a number of qualifications recognised such as CFIOSH, CMIOSH, Grad IOSH and Tech IOSH. Each has it's own qualification, with CFIOSH being the highest grade available. CFIOSH requires a CPD (continued professional development) record to maintain knowledge and skills. These courses are often completed through E-Learning, but are also offered within a classroom environment with a 45 minute examination at the end to provide the qualification.

NEBOSH offers either a diploma or general certificate but is accredited across construction, fire and environmental management also. The NEBOSH courses entail classroom or workplace learning over a period that you need to commit to. Distance learning is available however this needs to be arranged prior to undertaking the course. The NEBOSH Diploma is accepted by many UK universities as prior learning that meets criteria for advanced MSc level courses. It is recommended that you complete the NEBOSH National General Certificate before moving on to the diploma level courses however.

Summary - NEBOSH or IOSH?

By achieving accreditation in either NEBOSH or IOSH, you are furthering your skill set within your workplace to take advantage of an increased importance on health and safety qualified professionals. By being aware of health and safety issues that may arise you are providing your employer or employees with the peace of mind that there are qualified professionals on site to monitor safety in the workplace.

NEBOSH - Looking to further your career within Health and Safety

IOSH - Becoming more qualified within your given role, with health and safety a practical concern.

If you're looking to book a course then head over to our NEBOSH and IOSH pages

Our next article will provide a list of potential career prospects for those who hold NEBOSH and IOSH accreditation, together with the practical applications in the workplace.

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