IOSH-Overview of ‘Directing safely’

This course has been approved by the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s for the award of its ‘Directing safely’ certificate. It aims to ensure that people at the most senior levels appreciate the importance of health and safety and their responsibilities in relation to it. The course reflects the principles embodied in:

  • The Health and Safety Executive’s guidance, ‘Successful Health and Safety Management’ (HSG65)
  • The Turnbull report (‘Internal controls: Guidance for Directors on the Combined Code’)
  • The DETR / HEC’s ‘Revitalising Health and Safety’ strategy statement

Training objectives

On successful completion of the ‘Directing safely’ course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of strategic health and safety management and its integration into other business management systems
  • Understand directors’ and employees’ statutory duties
  • Identify accident causes and plan for prevention through hazard identification, risk assessment and control strategies
  • Appreciate the consequences of failing to manage health and safety effectively
  • Understand the importance of employee selection and the effect of human factors on health and safety
  • Recognise the importance of consultation and communication with employees on health and safety issues
  • Appreciate the significance of performance monitoring for continual improvement of health and safety management


The ‘Directing safely’ course is intended for people with strategic responsibility for determining and implementing effective health and safety management within ‘small and medium sized enterprises’ (ie, those with fewer than 250 employees).


A one-day ‘Directing safely’ course involving formal presentations, videos and workshop exercises.

Special features - IOSH certification

Understanding of the ‘Directing safely’ course material iss evaluated by means of a 15-minute written assessment paper consisting of 10 multi-choice questions and a project designed to test the participant’s knowledge of acceptable records/documentary evidence required to support an organisation’s defence in litigation.

An IOSH Directing Safely certificate is awarded to all those who attend the course and successfully complete the written and practical assessments.

Course outline - ‘Directing safely’

Note: relevant legislation is discussed within the context of each module.

  1. Aims and objectives
    • Overview and introduction to the programme
    • Assessment details
    • IOSH certification
  2. Health and safety management - good business sense
    • The moral, legal and economic reasons for promoting health and safety in the workplace
    • The role of directors in health and safety management
    • The basic principles contained in the ‘Revitalising health and safety’ strategy statement
    • The Turnbull Report and corporate governance
  3. Health and safety - getting it wrong!
    • The meaning of the term ‘accident’
    • Immediate and root causes of accidents
    • The costs of accidents: direct, indirect, insured and uninsured
    • The powers of health and safety inspectors
    • The charges of manslaughter and corporate manslaughter
    • The roles of Magistrates’ courts and Crown courts
  4. Health and safety - getting it right!
    • The difference between civil and criminal law
    • What is meant by the terms ‘negligence’, ‘contributory negligence’ and ‘vicarious liability’
    • What is meant by the terms ‘absolute duty’, ‘so far as is practicable’ and ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’
    • The difference between Acts, Regulations, Approved Codes of Practice and Guidance notes
    • The principles of safety management systems
  5. Planning for success
    • The process of continual improvement with regard to health and safety
    • Hazard and risk
    • The process of risk assessment and the function of risk control systems
    • Understanding the principles governing workplace precautions
    • SMART
  6. People - your most valuable asset
    • Factors affecting human behaviour
    • The reasons for human error
    • The need for careful selection of staff
    • The need for good health and safety training
    • The role of consultation and communication
    • Occupational health issues
  7. How well are you performing?
    • The meaning of and recognising improvements in performance
    • Relating performance standards to legal requirements
    • The drawbacks of accident statistics
    • Other sources of statistical information relating to accidents
    • What is meant by active and reactive monitoring
  8. Improving performance
    • The key areas for improving performance and identifying key objectives
    • The need for an action plan
    • The benefits of setting target dates
    • Appreciating the need for allocating responsibility
    • Performance indicators
    • The process of change

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