Health and safety passport schemes

Passport schemes for health and safety can be a useful way for employers to check that somebody working on their premises, or elsewhere doing work on their behalf, has received basic health and safety awareness training.

As an employer, you need to be clear about what any particular passport held by a worker tells you, and whether the training and awareness the passport represents is compatible with the work the passport holder is doing and the environment they are working in.

If you are considering setting up a passport scheme, it is important to make sure, as far as possible:

  • that the passport genuinely reflects an understanding of the hazards and risks associated with the work that the holder will undertake and
  • that they know how to deal with them safely

Carrying out an effective risk assessment will help you to do this.

HSE believes that industries and their people are best placed to decide on the content and type of passports that work best for them. HSE does not normally approve or endorse individual schemes.

We encourage organisations to recognise different passport schemes, if they are confident that they represent a level of health and safety awareness needed for the work being carried out. This can help reduce the burden on businesses and people who operate in more than one work environment.

A passport is not:

  • an assurance of an individual's competence
  • a substitute for a risk assessment
  • a substitute for giving job or site-specific information
  • a substitute for effective on site management or supervision
  • required or regulated by law

HSE guidance, Health and safety basics for your business provides general health and safety guidance that can help if you are setting up a passport scheme, or if you are an employer who wants to know what a passport should cover to be relevant for your business.

Employers can also contact relevant trade associations or industry professional bodies for advice on passport schemes.

Details of the competence required for specific industries or work activities, which a passport might cover, can be found on the National Occupational Standards website or at the Federation for Industry Skills and Standards website.

A range of HSE guidance, including information that will help you understand the competence required to work in specific industries or work environments, can be found here - industry-specific guidance.

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Updated: 2023-12-12