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Breaking down the barriers: seeking a way into the OSH profession

Date posted
12 February 2024
Peter Mugi
Estimated reading time
2 minute read

Peter Mugi CertIOSH, a member of IOSH’s Future Leaders steering group, looks at some of the barriers to people getting into the OSH profession.

In the ever-changing field of OSH, having a qualified and diversified staff is important. So, I was interested to learn what the main barriers are for people seeking to enter the profession.

With that in mind, I put a poll out on my LinkedIn. There were only a small number of respondents – 32 – but the results were interesting nonetheless.

Lack of experience

Experience – or a lack of it was the most clear obstacle, according to respondents. This demonstrates the complexity of experience in the field of OSH, which calls for not only technical knowledge but also industry expertise, practical abilities, and a comprehension of regulatory frameworks. The difficulty of obtaining this extensive skill set, which is essential for success in the sector, is faced by aspiring professionals.

It is important to recognise the constraints imposed by a sample size of only 32. Although the survey offers insightful information, it only captures a small portion of the broad OSH population in the UK. The results provide a glimpse, not a whole picture, therefore broad generalisations should be made with caution.

Even if experience is emphasised, it's crucial to consider other possible obstacles. Experience can interact with other factors like age, gender, and nationality to create a wide set of obstacles. For example, it could be difficult for young professionals to obtain the necessary experience, and there might be more obstacles for members of underrepresented groups.

Addressing the barriers

This revelation calls for a broader conversation within the OSH community. How can the profession collectively address these barriers and foster an inclusive environment that welcomes professionals from all backgrounds? The answer lies in targeted initiatives, mentorship programmes, and industry-wide discussions to dismantle the obstacles that deter aspiring individuals.

In conclusion, the poll results offer a starting point for understanding the challenges faced by those entering the OSH profession. Experience, as highlighted by the respondents, is undoubtedly a key player in this narrative. However, it is vital to approach these findings with a sense of perspective, recognising the need for more extensive research and dialogue. By doing so, the OSH community can work towards creating an environment where talent thrives, regardless of the barriers that may stand in its way.

We'd love to hear about the challenges you faced in you journey to becoming a health and safety professional.

Last updated: 12 July 2024

Peter Mugi

Job role


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