Competency framework

The skills, knowledge and behaviours you need to influence and drive change

IOSH's competency framework is designed to build capability across our profession. We released this updated version in 2019, following extensive research and consultation with occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals, employers and other stakeholders.  

It reflects the significant changes that have occurred in the workplace over the last decade. Today’s OSH professionals need a broader range of skills, knowledge and behaviours to influence and drive change. 

Download the full framework

The competency framework includes 69 competencies across three categories: technical, core and behavioural. It is not a ‘one size fits all’ tool - the range and level of competencies required for each individual role will vary and depend on factors such as the sector, the individual’s seniority or career stage and the size of organisation. 



As a member, you can benchmark yourself against the competencies using our self-assessment toolpart of IOSH’s Blueprint package. Blueprint provides a comprehensive suite of practical tools to help build skills and boost career development and is available to all members. Read more about Blueprint’s features. 

Watch our video below to find out more about the competency framework.


Got any questions? Have a read through the FAQs below.

What is the competency framework?

It’s an updated version of the competency framework, previously developed for the original version of Blueprint, rather than an entirely new one. It is designed to help OSH professionals build capability and keep pace with rapid change in the workplace. It sets the standard for the skills, knowledge and behaviours required by OSH professionals managing risk and driving change in today’s constantly evolving workplace.

The updated competency framework is the result of a collaborative research project involving a wide range of stakeholders and drawing on a wealth of data from the original version of Blueprint. There are 69 competencies across 12 areas, in three categories. Technical competence covers health and safety law, risk and incident management and new technical understanding on subjects such as ethical practice, ethical understanding, human capital and community impact. Core competence covers good decision-making in the workplace. Behavioural competence includes communication, working with stakeholders and personal performance.

How do I use the framework to identify my development needs?

The updated framework is the starting point for OSH professionals wishing to build capability by developing their skills, knowledge and behaviours to the highest standards. It is mapped to Blueprint, our professional journey package for members, which includes a self-assessment tool and CPD.

How will I know which competencies I need at what level for my grade?

The competencies are mapped to our membership grades and built into Blueprint. 

Why did the framework need to be updated?

Occupational safety and health as a practice has changed significantly in the last decade and today's OSH professionals need a wider range of skills. Our competency framework is designed to reflect this and ensure we continue to drive the highest standards of capability within the profession.

Can I use Blueprint to create a development plan?

Yes. Blueprint includes a self-assessment tool that is mapped to the competency framework. You’ll complete a self-assessment for each of our three competency areas – technical, core and behavioural – and then build your personal development plan based on the results.

How did the research project for the competency framework trigger the review of IOSH’s membership grades?

The research conducted to inform the competency framework gave clarity to the competencies required. It indicated a clear need for IOSH as the Chartered Institution to ensure that the standards it sets for entry to membership continue to be relevant to business and wider society.

How does this competency framework differ from the original IOSH competency framework?

IOSH’s original competency framework detailed 27 competencies, with the emphasis on technical skills. The framework introduced in 2019 recognises the continuing need for technical competencies but expands the range of skills, knowledge and behaviours. It’s arguably the most comprehensive competency framework available for the OSH sector. Our new and enhanced Blueprint tool is mapped to it.

How does IOSH’s competency framework differ from other competency frameworks for the sector?

Other competency frameworks are available and there are similarities, particularly around the use of business and soft skills, but each competency framework is structured differently and designed to meet a different purpose. What all the frameworks have in common is a desire to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world, while maintaining the highest standards for the profession. As the Chartered Institution and leading professional body for occupational safety and health, IOSH’s standards are respected worldwide. Our updated competency framework reflects these standards and is arguably the most comprehensive competency framework specifically for OSH. Importantly, it is an actionable framework which can be used by managers and staff to lead and take responsibility for learning and development. It will help to build capability for the future.

Has IOSH’s CPD scheme changed to reflect the new competency framework?

Yes. IOSH's CPD scheme is part of our Blueprint package and aligned with the competency framework.

I have completed courses in soft skills but none of these courses have been accredited – does that mean they don’t count for CPD?

CPD can come in lots of shapes and sizes, so doesn’t necessarily need to be accredited. What is important is it supports your learning and development and strengthens areas identified as needing maintenance or improvement in your Blueprint self-assessment.

Who was consulted on the updated competency framework?

We used primary and secondary data-gathering methodologies in our extensive six-month research project. Primary research included focus groups and in-depth interviews with employers and a representative sample of IOSH members, combined with analysis of a huge bank of data within the original version of Blueprint, our self-assessment tool. This gave us 250,000 data sets to analyse, from over 10,000 users in 111 countries.

Will there be a financial cost for reviewing these competencies?

All members have free access to the competency framework via Blueprint. They can choose how they fulfil their CPD requirements, so any costs associated with achieving competency would vary from member to member. IOSH offers over 1,000 resources in the Blueprint CPD library along with other free member benefits that can help with CPD, such as IOSH Magazine and IOSH Career Hub.

What is IOSH doing to ensure that recruitment agencies and employers understand the competency framework?

We have shared the framework with specialist OSH recruiters, to make sure they understand what the competencies mean and how they can align their own frameworks with IOSH.

Does IOSH’s competency framework map to INSHPO’s?

As you would expect, there is common ground between the two frameworks. IOSH is an Associate Member of INSHPO and we share a common aim to raise standards within our profession. When INSHPO launched its Capability Framework in 2017, it was a significant step forward. Although IOSH didn’t sign up to the Framework as part of the Singapore Accord, because our first competency framework was already in use within Blueprint, we were delighted to see that INSHPO’s framework placed greater emphasis on business and soft skills. Two years on, in 2019, the occupational safety and health profession had continued to evolve at pace and IOSH’s commitment to building capability was stronger than ever. We embarked on research to inform the next generation of our competency framework, in consultation with members, employers and other key stakeholders. By looking to the future and drawing on insights from focus groups and desktop research, we expanded the business and behavioural elements in particular, and developed a highly comprehensive, needs-driven framework to guide the development of OSH professionals for some years to come. Our next step is to embed the framework in the new and enhanced Blueprint for a more accessible, intuitive professional journey which will link seamlessly with other resources.

Will the competencies be weighted?

No. The framework does not weight competencies as different roles will require different combinations of competencies.