Occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals are held in higher esteem than ever – that’s the big takeaway message from the 2021 Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) member survey.
In total, 43 per cent of respondents said they felt more valued since the outbreak of Covid-19. And 63 per cent said the OSH role was highly regarded within their organisation.
Jimmy Quinn, IOSH President, said: “Our members are critical to a safe and healthy recovery from times of crisis and have been front and centre keeping organisations afloat around the world.
“I am delighted that they are, quite rightly, being recognised for their incredible work. And I also want to say a huge thank-you to them for engaging with us during this busy period.
“For our part, IOSH will continue to provide the tools needed to do the job, and our ambitious enhancement programme, including our member grades review and improved arrangements for CPD, will ensure every member has the means to develop their competence and raise the standards of the profession.”
The focus now is to build on this momentum.
Chris Jerman, IOSH Thought Leadership Manager, said: “There is an opportunity for the savvy OSH professional, supported, of course, by the Institution, to ride that wave.
“While you’ve got the ear of managers, say, ‘What about that improvement we always talked about’?”
IOSH will further shine a spotlight on OSH with its forthcoming sustainability and human capital campaign.
Chris said: “We want OSH professionals to recognise that the work they have already done, and are still doing, can be fed directly into the human capital part of their organisation, showing the true value of all their efforts.”
Another key finding is that 22 per cent of members feel more secure in their role, while 62 per cent feel no different to before the pandemic. This is also positive, given the level of redundancies in other areas.
Ruth Wilkinson, IOSH Head of Health and Safety, believes the reason could be the strong focus on the health of people in workplaces, be they employees, customers, contractors, etc.
She said: “This has enabled the OSH profession to lead, support and work collaboratively in businesses to aid the response, risk assessment, control strategies, and use of new processes and technology, by being solution-focused, monitoring, reviewing and integrating health and safety management into core business.”
The direction now for everyone should be identifying hazards, managing risks, learning lessons, seeking opportunities, and integrating OSH with other disciplines and systems.
“IOSH will continue to advocate and influence for OSH at the highest level, through our policy, regulatory engagement, and collaborations with the likes of the World Health Organization, Commonwealth and as participants for the United Nations Global Compact,” added Ruth.
The IOSH survey was launched earlier this year to gather a full picture of IOSH and the OSH profession. Almost 9,500 members – or 21 per cent – responded, up from 20 per cent in 2019 and with representation from all grades, age groups and career stages.
Questions ranged from whether managing workplace mental health and wellbeing should be part of the OSH role (72 per cent said yes) to the top reason for joining IOSH (supporting career progression) and the most popular reasons for staying (keeping up to date with OSH developments and maintaining competence and enhancing knowledge).
More detailed results can be found in the September/October issue of IOSH Magazine – voted one of the top member benefits – and upcoming social media posts. The outcomes of our last survey supported the introduction of IOSH Mentoring and the Career Hub and these latest findings will similarly influence IOSH’s strategic plans for 2022 and beyond.