Inclusion of mental health and wellbeing in OSH roles supported by IOSH survey

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A recent survey conducted by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has highlighted a growing consensus among professionals for the integration of mental health and wellbeing management into occupational safety and health (OSH) roles.

Survey reveals support for expanded OSH roles

Nearly three-quarters of respondents to the IOSH member survey expressed the opinion that managing mental health and wellbeing at work should be a part of the OSH role.

These findings underscore the evolving nature of OSH responsibilities in contemporary work environments.

Additionally, the survey, which received 7,015 responses last year, revealed that nine out of ten participants consider the health and safety role to be valued in their organisations, with 61% regarding it as “highly valued”​​.

IOSH President emphasises the role of OSH in mental health

IOSH President Stuart Hughes reflected on the survey results, emphasising the growing importance of mental health and wellbeing in the business landscape.

He stated: “The mental health and wellbeing of staff is something many more businesses take seriously now, rightly so, and OSH professionals have a key role in supporting this.

“So, it’s encouraging to see that many of our members view it as a part of their role”​​.

Hughes further elaborated that OSH transcends physical safety risks, including managing risks to health, which encompasses mental health and wellbeing.

He highlighted the potential benefits of effective management in these areas, such as reduced staff absence and turnover, leading to enhanced sustainability and productivity for businesses​​.

Positive response to IOSH initiatives

The survey also revealed strong support for IOSH’s efforts in advancing the OSH profession.

Key findings included:

  • 91% of respondents believe IOSH builds excellence in the OSH profession.
  • 87% acknowledge that IOSH prioritises OSH standards globally.
  • 77% feel IOSH puts people at the heart of sustainability.
  • 74% think IOSH offers good value for money​​.

Member testimonials on IOSH membership

IOSH members cited various reasons for recommending the organisation.

One member described IOSH membership as “your ticket to the dance,” a straightforward way of demonstrating competence.

Another member recommended IOSH to colleagues as it is a globally-recognised professional body, enhancing professional credibility and providing access to valuable resources and knowledge for occupational safety and health practitioners​​.

Demographics and aspirations of IOSH members

The survey provided insights into the demographics of IOSH members.

A quarter of respondents were Chartered members, and 60% of those not yet Chartered aspire to achieve this status, contingent on attaining the required competence and experience.

Construction emerged as the most common industry among respondents (43%), followed by manufacturing (23%) and consultancy and training (20%).

Additionally, nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents were based outside the UK, with 51% aged 50 or over.

Hughes expressed gratitude to those who participated in the survey and encouraged more members to share their views, stating, “Your voice is important to IOSH and your opinions help to shape our future direction”​​.

IFSJ Comment

The IOSH survey results mark a significant shift in the perception and scope of occupational safety and health roles.

The inclusion of mental health and wellbeing management within OSH responsibilities reflects a broader understanding of workplace health that transcends traditional physical safety concerns.

This evolution aligns with the increasing awareness and prioritisation of mental health in workplaces globally.

For businesses, the integration of these aspects into OSH roles promises not only a more holistic approach to employee welfare but also potential benefits in terms of sustainability and productivity.

As OSH professionals adapt to these expanded roles, organisations stand to gain from reduced absenteeism and improved staff retention.

The IOSH survey serves as a bellwether for this changing landscape, signalling a growing recognition of the multifaceted nature of health and safety in the modern work environment.

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