Safety Groups UK


How did the LOcHER initiative start?

  • It originated within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
  • It started with a question - How can we involve students and apprentices in colleges to help them protect their health when they are at college and on entering the world of work?
  • It has two streams: Colleges and Schools
  • It is supported and promoted by Safety Groups UK, FE colleges, CLEAPSS, HSE and others

What is the aim of the LOcHER Initiative?

The LOcHER initiative aims to help students:

  • To learn a given subject (e.g. welding, construction, Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (iSTEM) in a practical, interesting and interactive way, whilst H&S issues are integrated within it
  • To learn about occupational health risks and exposure control measures in innovative ways
  • To understand and embed the key health risks and ways of controlling them into their long-term memory
  • To transfer learning from a student environment into the work environment and help themselves and work colleagues to be safer
  • To equip students to take appropriate actions and protect their health when they come across a risk at work

Who is managing the LOcHER Initiative?

  • The participating colleges, schools and employers manage the implementation and application of the LOcHER project in their institutions
  • The LOcHER Steering Group (SG) is actively promoting the project and supporting colleges. The Steering Group operations/co-ordination are facilitated by HSE
  • A number of colleges are members of the Steering Group
  • Principals and others in some colleges are acting as ambassadors of the LOcHER project
  • The participating colleges and students are free to explore innovative approaches and manage their projects in their own way

It is supported by many stakeholders and help is available.

Contact the Steering Group Secretary Jane Rheinheimer on

How do students benefit?

Students involved say that the LOcHER project approach (Resources):

  • Makes learning interesting and enjoyable
  • Improves confidence in learning
  • Helps to learn new skills and practise existing skills
  • Provides a topic for inclusion in job applications and at interviews
  • Takes away the attitude that H&S is boring
  • Helps gain knowledge about how to look after their health when at work

How do colleges benefit?

Principals, curriculum managers, lecturers and health and safety professionals have found that taking part in the LOcHER project:

  • Supports students in a range of learning approaches and skills development - for example - practically-based learning; developing assertiveness; conducting research; communicating effectively, using different techniques and tools; leadership development; managing time; problem solving; self-directed learning; thinking critically; taking initiative; and working in teams)
  • Helps students to develop positive attributes for employability
  • Provides the college with a project base for demonstrating their students' skills development to employers and others

What is LOcHER designed to do?

  • For developing learners' employability and life skills
  • To help curriculum excellence by involving innovation in teaching
  • To help colleges reporting mechanisms, for example: Annual H&S report, when preparing Ofsted reports
  • For helping community engagement
  • For contributing towards the 5Rs - Recruitment, Retention, Results, Reputation and Rewards

What opportunities are there for students and colleges?


  • Can promote their work, for example, via colleges, LOcHER and other websites; at meetings, social media, competitions, college open days and presentations at local safety groups
  • Can use the experience as an evidence when seeking employment
  • Should feel better equipped to look after their health at work


  • The project is open to all further education colleges and secondary schools
  • Colleges can promote their involvement, for example, through local and national press, in board and Ofsted reports, community involvement projects, open days, conferences, AOC events and HSE organised events
  • Colleges can use supporting logos: LOcHER, SGUK and "Help GB Work Well'"
  • Students and colleges receive certificates and other awards
  • If the participating students are 16-18-year olds, the students work can be sent to BBC School Report, (subject to conditions)
  • Colleges can promote Inter-department/inter-student competitions using LOcHER as a basis
  • Colleges may use students to teach H&S, using the LOcHER project achievements
  • See colleges benefits section, above

What do colleges have to do to get involved?

  • Watch the LOcHER Showcase examples from five colleges and use them in your teaching portfolio and in H&S induction courses
  • Use ideas in the Showcase to develop your own initiatives
  • Contact and talk to the LOcHER Steering Group members for ideas and support - contact Jane Rheinheimer at HSE - or
  • Speak to colleges already involved, ask the Steering Group for details
  • Promote your students' involvement and their work, in accordance with college procedures
  • Let the LOcHER Steering Group know about your involvement and achievement for further promotion

What help is there for colleges?

  • College health and safety professionals
  • LOcHER Steering Group members
  • LOcHER Showcase
  • Experts in work-related health risks management for 'bouncing' ideas. Talk to the Steering Group
  • SGUK local safety groups and their experts
  • Some colleges may allow their students to visit other colleges to promote the project

How long does a LOcHER project take?

  • A project is normally integrated as part and parcel of teaching
  • Experience from colleges that are already involved show anything between 30 minutes to a few weeks, but as a small part of a course. Students learn their subject while they participate

How many hours do students put into a project?

  • The project is normally integrated as part and parcel of teaching a subject. For example: learning about the correct use of respiratory protective equipment when exposed to wood dust will form part of the course. The students involved will discover and learn about it by research and using practical hands-on learning
  • Experience from colleges shows anything between 30 minutes to few weeks as part of a course

Is there financial support available?

  • There is no facility for wholesale funding
  • The Steering Group seeks to a provide small amount of funding to support competitions and prizes with the support of stakeholders
  • The Steering Group can help to arrange workplace visits, in accordance with the participating college procedures
  • The Steering Group will seek opportunities to promote the work of colleges among employers and others

Who judges the work of students?

  • It is the decision of the colleges. They have used different approaches. For example, judges from HSE, industry and professional organisations
  • SGUK provides certificates to participating students and colleges

What resources, time and equipment are needed?

Time and Resources

  • Watch the Showcase to gain information
  • Lecturers will normally integrate LOcHER as part and parcel of normal practical-based teaching and student development
  • No time frame for completion of a project. Experience shows, it can be done within a week, whilst forming part of a study module
  • The LOcHER principles are integrated during new curriculum years


  • It depends on experiment, methods and how you decide to publicise within the college and outside. Students have created posters, films using mobile phones, art work using fish bones; computer designed games, music including rap and dance types, poems etc.

How many students can take part?

  • As many students as possible - entirely up to each lecturer. It is a common practice that students work in small teams (2 to 3) or as individuals

Do students have to do everything themselves?

  • The initiative is - "for students by students"; lecturers and others will support as appropriate
  • Some practical support can be drawn from college H&S professionals, lecturers, technical associates, LOcHER Steering Group, SGUK members, local safety groups and others supporting the initiative

Who can use the LOcHER initiative?

  • The LOcHER idea and its logo can be used by employers, colleges, schools, training bodies and professional organisations, anywhere in the world
  • Let the Steering Group know about your activities, so that they can provide help and support and promote your innovation

What about safeguarding measures?

  • Participating college procedures will determine the protocols