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June 22, 2023

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Certificate in Health and Safety Leadership Excellence – Live development panel

The NEBOSH HSE Certificate in Health and Safety Leadership Excellence is for senior business leaders, or anyone who aspires to this role in the future and is designed to help leaders become better health and safety advocates and influencers by highlighting key areas to focus on to make a difference.

Matt Powell-Howard, Head of Product Development, NEBOSH

In an interactive session in Safety & Health Expo’s Keynote Theatre in London last month, Matt Powell-Howard, Head of Product Development at NEBOSH – the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health – asked delegates to think about what made good leaders and best practice for communication in the health and safety space and explained the fundamental elements of the certificate.

In this article, we summarise some of the key takeaways of that session.

Who the Certificate in Health and Safety Leadership Excellence is for

Those who take the qualification should have a desire to and focus on positively influencing health and safety performance and culture in their workplace. They should also understand the link between effective health and safety leadership and reaching cultural safety excellence and apply the HSE model for effective health and safety leadership. Furthermore, leaders should be able to reflect on their own styles, balancing IQ with EQ, and how that influences decision-making and subsequent behaviours.

Consultation is key to these outcomes, and that entails identifying stakeholder needs and wants, collating their input and data, establishing objectives and achieving results such as corrective action.

Effective leadership communication

Key to leadership values are qualities such as building and promoting a shared health and safety vision, which involves regular conversations with staff and contractors and building a good rapport through walkabouts etc; being considerate and responsive and providing support and recognition, so offering praise and asking the right questions, the application of positive and negative enforcement, and promoting fairness and trust in relationship with others and encouraging improvement, innovation and learning.

On a granular level there’s a lot for leaders to think about, including the primacy and recency of information and the relevant language that is communicated in and who by. Making messaging memorable and tailored is also key, in the same way that information gathering has to be clear and relevant and focus on the right areas.

Stakeholder opinions on the course are constantly being evaluated, one observation being that the territory is a lot for a one-day course to cover. Summing up the overall credo behind the qualification, Powell-Howard advises: “speak less, listen more.”

About Matt Powell-Howard

Matt Powell-Howard graduated in Safety and Environmental Management from the University of Hull and holds a Master of Arts degree in Education from the University of York. He worked initially in the chemical process industry in the UK for a number of top tier COMAH sites before moving on to SHE roles in consultancy, manufacturing, construction, quarrying and the hydrocarbon industries.

Matt joined NEBOSH in 2006 and has held various roles during that time. Matt is currently the NEBOSH Head Product Development with responsibility for the development of existing and new NEBOSH products.

He has 20 years’ experience in Health, Safety and Environmental Management and is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner.

About the Certificate

The NEBOSH HSE Certificate in Health and Safety Leadership Excellence takes around 10 hours to complete and is for senior business leaders and anyone aspiring to this role. It aims to help individuals become better health and safety advocates and influencers by highlighting key areas to focus on to make a difference. It is relevant for all business leaders working in any sector, anywhere in the world.

The course syllabus covers the foundations of health and safety leadership, including reasons for health and safety leadership, organizational health and safety vision, and benefits of excellent health and safety leadership. There are no specific entry requirements for this course, but it is essential that learners have a suitable standard of English language to understand and articulate the concepts contained in the syllabus.

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