Health, Safety and Environmental Management
Health and Safety has become more than just a means to keep accidents and injury in the workplace down, it’s become a booming career path for professionals.
Increased penalties for failure to ensure safe practice and other high-profile incidents making the headlines mean that employers are keener than ever to hire trained Health and Safety experts. This demand has in turn led to a surge in workers seeking to retrain, alongside new methods of teaching such as online e-Learning studies.
The personal benefits for trained staff are substantial too, with many reporting improvements in their salaries, job security, employment prospects and chances of promotion.
What began as a fledging concern to address unchecked industry casualties has developed into a pioneering management profession.
The most commonly recognised mark of expertise
Reports from the most well-known accrediting body provide perspective on what a successful career path Health and Safety has become.
NEBOSH Qualifications in Health, Safety and Environmental Management (SHE) are the most commonly recognised mark of expertise in the field, holding a reputation for reliable knowledge across industries and around the world.
As such, it should come as no surprise that recent statistics reflect this rising recognition and popularity.
The most appropriate qualification
NEBOSH offers both National (UK) and International Qualifications.
Looking at their UK statistics as a microcosm of their global popularity, NEBOSH recently revealed their most popular National qualification – the National General Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health (NGC) – is held by more than 190,000 people, with 9/10 surveyed students considering it the most appropriate qualification to achieve their career goals*1.
NEBOSH describes their National General Qualification as a guarantee of the following:
- Specific qualifying criteria being met to ensure expertise is fit for purpose.
- Understanding of how to implement appropriate assessment methodology.
- Compliance with relevant National Occupational Standards.
Specifically looking at the international alternative – the NEBOSH International General Certificate (IGC) – the feedback from students is similarly positive.
Among surveyed students who successfully completed the qualification 98% stated they would recommend it to others*2. In addition, more than a quarter noted a change in their career as a direct result of achieving it, while 67% acknowledged higher confidence and applicable knowledge within their role.
To borrow a quote summarising the benefits from NEBOSH IGC and Diploma holder Stephen Low*2:
“NEBOSH boosts customer confidence in health and safety and also enhances the company image in terms of professionalism. It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.”
Employers are hiring for Health and Safety positions
Recent statistics also demonstrate the recognition employers typically offer NEBOSH qualified candidates.
Where UK employers are hiring for Health and Safety positions the following has been shown*3:
- 87% (nine in ten) request a NEBOSH qualification when hiring for a SHE role.
- NEBOSH General Certificates remain the most popular requested requirement.
- The other most popular qualification requests are NEBOSH Diplomas and Certificates in Construction.
It is also worth mentioning, that even where vacancies in the survey did not request a NEBOSH qualification, 62% still requested professional memberships such as IEMA or IOSH*3 – memberships which being NEBOSH Qualified can notably fulfil the criteria for.
Regarding the connection between perceived competence for a SHE role and being NEBOSH qualified, Dee Arp (NEBOSH Director of Technical Standards) stated the following*3:
“NEBOSH works closely with employers to develop qualifications that give learners the relevant skills they need to work in all kinds of workplaces. This research is a positive endorsement of the work we do in helping to develop competent practitioners that employers want and value; together we are keeping our friends, families and colleagues even safer when they go to work each day.”
A prosperous future
The surest indicator that SHE management careers have a prosperous future is that demand for control of risks and hazards is timeless.
While enormous progress has been made in the last few decades to reduce workplace casualties through trained management of Health and Safety, 2017/2018 UK figures from the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) underline the continuing demand for trained expertise in all sectors*4:
- 144 workers were reported to have been killed on the job.
- Approximately 555,000 injuries are thought to have occurred at work according to the Labour Force Survey with 71,062 reported under RIDDOR.
- A staggering 7 million working days were lost through a combination of work-related illness and injury.
- All the above factors are estimated to have cost businesses and the economy as a whole £15 billion in 2016/2017.
While shocking, these figures are a fraction of what they would be were Health and Safety professionals not working to prevent worst case scenarios everyday in the year. In fact, they could be even lower with the right enthusiasm and dedication from the next generation of SHE professionals.
Either way, the demand for trained managers with a passion of protecting life is unlikely to vanish anytime soon.