Construction sites are dynamic workplaces with constantly changing hazards and risks that have to be controlled. The importance of safety professionals providing suitable health and safety advice to the industry cannot be overstated.
Generalist OHS professionals provide OHS advice and often assist in the implementation of that advice to improve health and safety in workplaces. Until recently, there has been much confusion on which courses are appropriate for becoming a generalist OHS professional. There was no basis for consistent OHS education across Australian universities.
To improve this situation, an OHS Core Body of Knowledge (OHS BoK) has been produced to be the basis for OHS tertiary courses to be accredited.
The OHS BoK will also be used for continuing professional development (CPD) activities for generalist OHS professionals and will enable the independent certification of these professionals.
The OHS BoK is the culmination of work of many Australian OHS experts and academics who have written and reviewed chapters on a range of OHS subjects. An independent technical panel was established to define the structure and subject areas for the OHS BoK. WorkSafe provided the funding for the project, which started in 2009, coordinated through the Safety Institute of Australia and overseen by the Health and Safety Professionals Alliance.
The newly accredited generalist OHS courses provide general knowledge and skills across several areas of OHS. These are different to the OHS specialist courses that provide many OHS generalist knowledge subjects, as well as a deeper knowledge and understanding of specific disciplines such as ergonomics and hygiene.
The OHS BoK will be implemented in two ways:
- accreditation of OHS tertiary courses and CPD activities throughout Australia. The Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board has been established for this task
- certification and maintenance of generalist OHS professional qualifications.
The Accreditation Board is the custodian of the OHS BoK and will ensure it is regularly reviewed and updated. A website with further information will be released as part of the OHS BoK launch later in the year.
What’s in it for you?
The OHS BoK will enhance the status of OHS professionals across Australia. It will reassure employers of the quality and consistency of the advice received from recognised, qualified professionals.
Are you, or do you want to be, a generalist OHS professional? Find out more: