Assistant Editor, Safety & Health Practitioner

November 8, 2019

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‘Making health and safety training both relevant and accessible to all’, SHP speaks exclusively to NEBOSH Chief Executive Ian Taylor

NEBOSH, has launched Safety Simplified, a course which is said to represent a major new development for the organisation. SHP spoke to Chief Executive Ian Taylor to find out why it’s taking this bold step now.

Ian TaylorNEBOSH has updated its approach to health and safety with the launch of Safety Simplified, a three-day practical course, aiming to reduce risk of fines and protect employees.

A year into his tenure as Chief Executive, Ian spoke exclusively to SHP. “Every year 1.4 million people suffer from work-related injuries and ill-health. This costs UK organisations £15 billion. These are huge numbers and let’s not forget, behind these statistics are real people whose lives have been affected,” he said.

The new launch focuses on a more practical element to risk assessments, which innovatively uses augmented reality to bring safety to life. Ian explained that the qualification is for everyone, not just health and safety practitioners. He says it’s for “the lady that owns a hair salon and the worker at B&Q, everyone can get involved”.

With flexible ‘on the day’ registrations and the ability to deliver Safety Simplified to a specific organisation’s needs, any employee, anywhere in the world, can complete the course.

“A key answer is to get more people aware of and involved in health and safety, afterall everyone has a part to play in keeping their workplace safe. So, we decided to develop Safety Simplified. It makes health and safety training both relevant and accessible to all.”

More practical approach

The course is heavily activity focused, and creatively uses augmented reality (AR). It is free to download on any smart device from Google’s Play Store and the Apple App Store, to help learners visualise what they’re being taught. There are numerous AR scenarios covering some of the most common safety issues such as noise, vibration, desk working, mechanical hazards, manual handling and working at height. Learners also complete a simple risk assessment.

Those who complete it can return to their workplaces with safety tips, ideas and tools which can be put into practice straight away. They will be able to make a real contribution not just to their immediate workspace but to the organisation’s wider culture and its health and safety team.

“These are all great bottom-line benefits, but most importantly, by creating safer places to work, staff will be better protected – and that’s good for everyone,” he added.

In September 2019, NEBOSH unveiled its new-look National and International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety, after input from 3,000 of the sector’s leading experts and organisations. That too, reflects the needs of today’s workplaces, with a greater emphasis on risk management, following interaction with businesses and managers.

Ian stated: “They wanted a more practical side of being able to do risk assessments, and not have it be so wordy. So first, we created a new question bank which we put into plain English with no technical jargon. Then we created a practical assessment which is risk based, that they have to do in their own workplace.

“The written side of the assessment is focused on what you know, and the practical side of the exam is how you apply that knowledge to your workplace”.

Before joining NEBOSH, Ian was CEO of the Skills Active Group, the Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure, Learning and Wellbeing. Prior to which he has led organisations including Giant Bikes, ISL, Sport Scotland and London Irish Holdings.

He concluded by telling SHP that as well as being a winner in sports, Ian won an Olympic Gold medal as the goalkeeper of the Great Britain hockey team at the 1988 games in Seoul, he also likes to be a winner in business too. “Those transferrable skills came from sport and into the world of business very easily,” he said, “I am extremely proud and privileged to be a part of NEBOSH”.

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