IOSH Vs NEBOSH

IOSH Vs NEBOSH

Hello, this article is designed to provide all the information you require to pick the best Health and Safety training (HSE) courses for you and your business. 

Should you choose IOSH or NEBOSH?

IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) and NEBOSH (The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) are the two most widely recognised HSE accreditations globally.  But which accreditation to choose and which specific course best fits your needs?



Firstly, there are no absolutes in Health and Safety.  The ultimate goal is to ensure that your staff, contractors and the public are not exposed to unreasonable harm by your organisation’s activities.

This goal can be achieved regardless of which qualification you choose, or even if you don’t study any.  In fact, there are plenty of other ways to learn that may even be more effective.

The reason IOSH and NEBOSH are so popular (2,000 IOSH training providers have taught training to 179,000 delegates world wide) is partly due to appearance and partly due to proven experience.  Appearance because it can be a feather in the cap for an organisation to have a HSE manager with a well-recognised qualification.  Proven experience because HSE standards have been improving over the years as the lessons from both courses are implemented.

Whats right for you?  Time, cost, future responsibility, personal learning style and long term goals all come into play when choosing the correction option. Below are some points you may wish to consider.


NEBOSH General Certificate

The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health – more commonly referred to as NEBOSH – doesn’t deliver health and safety training courses; instead it provides course content, exams and assignments to accredited course providers. The NEBOSH General Certificate is a bigger beast than IOSH Managing Safely – a 10 day qualification as opposed to IOSH’s 4 days.  NEBOSH General Certificate has a 53-72% pass rate (approx.) whereas many IOSH Managing Safely providers boast a 100% pass rate. Read into that what you will…

NEBOSH exams are invigilated, last for one day and take place usually every 3 months, although training providers can pay NEBOSH extra and pick their own exams dates.  This doesn’t happen often because it means having to pay for extra assessments to be written.

NEBOSH General Certificate is broken into modules: NGC1 and GC2 and  GC3.  Modules NG1 and GC2 are examined with 2 hour exams containing 10 questions (incl. one long answer question).  GC3 is a practical exam in your workplace.

  • Management of Health and Safety (NGC1)
  • Controlling Workplace Hazards (GC2)
  • Health and Wafety Practical Application (GC3)

Once NGC1 has been successfully completed, a bonus of NEBOSH is that you can ‘bolt on’ additional training, such as the  NEBOSH Fire Certificate, without having to re-take NGC1.  This is as long as you have completed NGC1 within the last 5 years. So there is an element of flexibility in the NEBOSH qualification if your career moves in a more specialised direction.

One criticism of the NEBOSH examination process is that sometimes it’s very ‘fact heavy’ rather than practical in its approach and in this way doesn’t truly assess the competencies required to be an effective HSE manager. Having said that, courses leading to NEBOSH qualifications attract around 50,000 candidates annually, making it the most popular HSE qualification in the UK.

One further reason for the popularity of NEBOSH is that holders of some NEBOSH qualifications are entitled to Associate Membership (AIOSH) of  IOSH.  These same NEBOSH qualifications also meet the academic requirements for Technical Membership (Tech IOSH) of IOSH.  Professional status with a number of other membership bodies is also possible. For further details click here and here.

Pricing – The NEBOSH General Certificate costs around £450 for online or £1,500 for classroom instruction.  Prices vary depending on supplier, with discounts usually offered for larger groups.


IOSH Managing Safely

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health is a not-for-profit organisation based in the UK with members worldwide. As the Chartered body for health and safety professionals, it aims to raise standards and regulate the profession.  In order to achieve this, part of its work involves developing and accrediting safety training course.

While IOSH Membership is something most pursuing a career in health and safety will consider, IOSH training is something all involved in health and safety in the workplace should consider.

For many managers and supervisors, the IOSH Managing Safely course will meet key requirements.  This is a 4 day qualification covering the same HSE legal and practical fundamentals as the NEBOSH General Certificate.  Due to its shorter duration it obviously doesn’t go into quite so much depth and this internationally recognised certification is aimed at general managers and supervisors, rather than health and safety specialists.  It develops HSE understanding and supports managers in assessing and controlling risks and hazards and investigating incidents.

Pricing – The IOSH Managing Safely course costs around £250 for online or £500 for classroom instruction. Again, prices vary depending on supplier.


So – NEBOSH or IOSH? Which course to choose?

As organisations vary in size and structure, there is no definitive answer to this question and the choice very much comes down to you and your needs.  If you wish to pursue a HSE career then it’s likely NEBOSH is the best option. If, however, HSE responsibility is just one part of your wider role and you work in a fairly low hazard workplace then IOSH Managing Safely is a sensible, and less time-consuming, option. If you wish to chat over your options, then give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.


Article  –  IOSH or NEBOSH  – Ends


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