IOSH health and safety education and training policy

In 2014-15, 142 people were killed at work and over 76,000 persons were injured requiring them to take time off work. An estimated 1.2 million suffered work-related illness.

In order to help reduce this human, financial and social toll, IOSH advocates that health and safety is firmly embedded in our education and training system, to create a more 'risk intelligent' society. Ultimately, we believe this will help to save lives and also help organisations strengthen their reputation, resilience and results.

The facts

  • In 2014-15, 142 people were killed at work and over 76,000 persons were injured requiring them to take time off work.
  • In the same period 1.2 million working people were suffering from a work-related illness
  • It was estimated that the cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions cost the UK £14.3 billion in 2013-14.
  • Young people are particularly at risk, as they face unfamiliar risks in new surroundings and have yet to develop the psychological capability to understand and manage risk.
  • The Education and Skills Act 2008 requires young people to stay in education or training until the age of 18 and provides new rights for adults to receive skills training.
  • The Act gives us a great chance to upskill young people, and those already in work, with the know-how to thrive in society and throughout their working lives.
  • In her report Review of the health of Britain's working age population – Working for a healthier tomorrow, Dame Carol Black says, "Healthy workplaces need to become the expected norm," and that "Schools, further education and higher education have a role in embedding these expectations in the next generation."

Our position

We believe there's a need to embed health and safety in our education and training system and to create a more 'risk intelligent' society, highlighted in our submission to Löfstedt's review of health and safety legislation. 

Our education and training system should cover health and safety in national, vocational and professional curricula, highlighted in our evidence to Sir Alasdair Macdonald on statutory Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) in schools. Including health and safety education in schools would support Dame Carol Black's vision outlined in ‘Working for a healthier tomorrow’.

Young people should be able to take advantage of all the positive opportunities that are offered to them and learn how to deal sensibly with the new challenges of modern society. This is why we believe that helping children to be risk aware - not risk averse - is giving them a valuable and transferable life-skill.

We support the benefits of learning outside the classroom and the work of Young Enterprise in upskilling business leaders of the future.

Business and management qualifications should include health and safety as a core discipline in the same way that they currently cover marketing, finance and human resource issues. IOSH is also supporting work to provide engineering students with learning materials and have produced a joint policy paper on The business case for engineering in health and safety.

IOSH provides a number of free tools to help organisations develop skills in this area (see here) and the IOSH Blueprint competence and skills framework.

Relevant IOSH consultation responses: