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Competency framework

In 2019 IOSH updated its competency framework following extensive research and consultation with OSH professionals, employers and other stakeholders.  

We released the framework in October 2019 to give context to the membership grades reviewIt is widely acknowledged that the workplace has changed a lot in the last decade and OSH professionals now need a broader set of skills, knowledge and behaviours to manage and drive change. By publishing the framework, we are helping to focus minds on the competencies required.  

Our next step is to embed the framework within our assessment tool, Blueprint 2.0, which will launch later this year. This will address questions about levels of competence and how to apply the framework. 

In the meantime we encourage OSH professionals and employers to use the framework as a reference tool to guide their development or recruitment needs. 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.  

Download the full framework

Download the FAQs

Watch our videos discussing competencies and the framework.



There are many factors influencing change, including increased business complexity, technology, the gig economy and constantly evolving business processes. As a result, OSH professionals need both soft and business skills to complement their technical skills and equip them to influence and drive change at all levels. 

In line with our WORK 2022 strategic aims to enhance, collaborate and influence, we recognise that IOSH needs to do more to build capability across the sector. Our updated competency framework is the precursor to a new professional journey, which will be launched in 2020 with an enhanced suite of practical tools to guide skills and career development. This will include Blueprint 2.0, a new CPD scheme, new technical guides and a free Career Hub for members, with access to thousands of learning resources and career planning tools.

In the meantime, see below an overview of the Competency framework. You can also discover our existing resources and CPD courses which can help you build your capability within these competencies.

Behavioural competence

To deliver influence, OSH professionals must conduct themselves appropriately in the workplace. This section includes competencies for building effective stakeholder relationships, optimising personal performance, developing exemplary communication skills and an ability to work productively with others. These are all abilities that underpin the building of successful and productive relationships.

Core competence

This covers the skills, knowledge and behaviours to support and enable good decision making in the workplace. It includes the competencies necessary to influence in operationally busy organisations and enhance the employability and general effectiveness of the OSH professional. The competencies include strategy, planning, leadership and management.

Technical competence

Our profession must continue to enhance its capability to provide accurate and effective advice on safety and occupational health subjects. This section of the framework includes the collection of OSH technical competencies that underpin advisory ability. These include complying with legislation and standards, policy, risk management, incident management and the effect of health, safety and welfare on people. It also includes new technical understanding aimed at working more effectively in the modern age, such as sustainability, ethical practice, human capital and community impact.

A thoroughly researched framework

Our new competency framework is the result of a lengthy, evidence-led research project. Through a combination of focus groups, telephone interviews, desktop research, analysis and benchmarking against a wide range of national and international standards and practices, we have identified three categories of competence, broken down into 12 areas, with a total of 69 competencies, that the modern OSH professional needs to demonstrate.

Having strengthened our competency framework, the next logical step was to review our membership grades. This will allow us to improve the way we support career development, create parity with other professions and enhance the experience for the ambitious member who wants to progress through the grades.

Have any further questions? Take a look at the FAQs which were last updated on 20 November 2019.