The ABC of OSH (Part 1)

iStock_000005528686XSmallAs every safety and health professional knows, there’s a near endless list of issues we need to consider if we are going to ensure every employee returns safely home to their families each night. While most of you will have studied for years to achieve the highest health and safety qualifications, there’s no harm in occasionally going back to basics to refresh your memory… Which in this case means remembering your ABCs! In this short post, we look at the first 12 letters of the alphabet and what they mean for the OSH professional…


Despite widespread awareness of its dangers, asbestos is still the single greatest cause of UK work-related deaths and remains a source of misery and ill health the world over. This great article highlights 6 surprising facts about asbestos you might not know.

Behavioural safety

Error plays a part in nearly all accidents. Learning to understanding errors, whether violations, mistakes or lapses, and exploring how they combine with other workplace factors is the basis of behavioural safety – a key tool in improving health and safety management.


In 2014, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations celebrated its 25th anniversary. The majority of organisations today use substances that could cause harm, so the COSHH regulations are a useful tool for keeping us safe. Check your knowledge with this free COSHH symbol quiz.


keyboard - croppedDisplay Screen Equipment has a lot to answer for – including back pain, neck, shoulder and arm pain, as well as with fatigue and eyestrain. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to safeguard staff against the risks posed by staring at computer screens for hours on end. This great DSE advice blog has everything you need to know!


It’s simple: if your job role involves safety, there’s a NEBOSH course for you! NEBOSH training courses offer globally recognised vocationally-related qualifications designed to meet health, safety and risk management needs, in all places of work. What’s more, Workplace Safety Blog provides free NEBOSH tips and advice to help ensure you ace those exams!

Fleet safety

For many companies, their fleet is the public face of their organisation. Therefore, it’s vital to ensure both the safety and professionalism of your drivers. Over the years RoSPA has built an unrivalled reputation as an innovative provider of driver training courses and fleet safety solutions – in fact, no organisation has done more to promote road safety in the UK, including past and current campaigns such as Kerb Drill, National Cycling Proficiency Scheme, hand held mobile phone bill and not forgetting pioneering and developing MORR as a mainstream health and safety issue.

Guardian Angels

In 2014, The RoSPA Guardian Angel Award Scheme was launched and received a fantastic response from both organisations and the media alike. Unlike other awards, this scheme aims to reward individuals who have gone above and beyond to improve the safety of either their organisation or the wider community. If you know someone who has gone ‘above and beyond’ to improve the safety of others then please let us know! Guardian Angel

Healthy minds

Work-related stress and related illnesses are a major problem in workplaces, and are estimated to cost the UK economy a staggering £26 billion pounds each year. Fortunately there are a number of techniques you can use to help combat work-related stress, helping ensure happier, healthier workplaces all round.


The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is a British H&S organisation with more than 43,000 members in over 100 countries. RoSPA combines IOSH’s refreshing approach with the skills of our expert tutors to deliver IOSH safety training with a real difference – meaning that rather than ‘death by PowerPoint’ you get practical, expert training that’s invaluable in real-world situations. For more information on IOSH training courses, visit RoSPA’s home page.


Excuse us if we get a little touchy when we hear yet another joke about ‘Elf and Safety’, but to be honest it’s starting to wear a little thin. Sure, some people will always harbour an irrational hatred of health and safety, no matter how many times we point to the statistics that clearly show the devastating cost of accidents to society. However, in a country where 133 workers are still killed at work every year from an injury which could have been prevented, we’ll keep our heads raised high to meet the gaze of the naysayers. We know you’ll do the same.

Kill joys

It seems as long as there have been tabloid newspaper columnists, there have been accusations that the health and safety industry is somehow intent on sucking the fun out of the world – as if our sole purpose in life is to go around closing children’s play areas and banning firework displays. While it doesn’t make as exciting a news story, the truth is that OSH professionals don’t just tolerate fun activities – they actively encourage them! From skiing to kayaking, mountain climbing to motorbike riding, RoSPA’s approach is for people to be as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible!


As all good OSH professionals understand, health and safety is most effective when it’s embedded in the hearts and minds of the company leaders, rather than being treated as an exercise in box ticking. Failure to include health and safety as a key business risk in board decisions can have catastrophic results. Many high-profile safety cases over the years have been rooted in failures of leadership – as these examples of the world’s worst accidents demonstrate. No one expects leaders to be completely hands-on, but it is vital that they practice and promote an enabling attitude to ensure the overall safety of their organisation. After all, the buck stops at the top! superhero

Manual handling

According to the NHS, back pain is responsible for 7.6 million lost work days every year. A large portion of back injury is caused by lifting and moving objects in the workplace. Often, these injuries are caused not by the weight of the objects, but by poor manual handling techniques – something there is no excuse for in modern workplaces! To find out more, see our ever popular post, ‘What is manual handling?

Look out for part 2 of our ABC of OSH, coming soon!

For more vital health and safety guides, facts and advice, sign up to SafetyMatters, RoSPA’s free fortnightly newsletter and receive our collection of free original e-books!

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