Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

The professional standards for accredited exercise physiologists incorporate elements of workplace rehabilitation and functional capacity assessment to perform work related tasks. Functional movement capacity is limited by the mechanical characteristics and structures of the human body, as well as the design characteristics of facilities and equipment in work, sport, exercise, and everyday life. This unit provides knowledge of and develops skills in Occupational Rehabilitation, including ergonomic principles as well as assessment and analysis within the workplace and other environments. The aim of this unit is to extend the student's knowledge and skill base of environmental, individual and equipment assessment to facilitate exercise prescription to manage return to work programs and deliver workplace and functional capacity assessments.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Demonstrate advanced knowledge of cognitive and physical ergonomics related to home and occupational environments, including the ability to employ the measurement tools utilised in ergonomics (GA4).

LO2 - Apply the core principles of Occupational Rehabilitation within the workplace and other environments (GA5).

LO3 - Conduct comprehensive workplace assessments with accurate and professional use of anatomical terms of motion relevant to both a specific injury and global physical requirements of an occupation (GA5).

LO4 - Conduct a functional capacity evaluation in a workplace and home environment and interpret apply the results in the development of functional conditioning programs, (GA5, GA7).

LO5 - Apply the intellectual, practical and communication skills necessary for professional practice, in relation to the work environment and other settings (GA4).

LO6 - Demonstrate an ability to design an evidence-based program that promote adherence in demotivated clients (GA5, GA8, GA9)

LO7 - Demonstrate a compassionate understanding of mental health disorders and how exercise physiology fits within multidisciplinary care (GA1, GA3, GA5, GA7, GA9)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include:  

  • Quantitative and qualitative methods used to describe and analyse the biomechanics of human movement 
  • Biological material properties of the human body and the neuromuscular aspects of human movement 
  • Use of ergonomics to evaluate task demands and human capabilities 
  • How to communicate information effectively to clients and guide equipment design and/or exercise interventions 
  • Conducting a workplace assessment, including duties and tasks, and functional capacity evaluation (FCE)  
  • Application of FCE information in a safe and effective rehabilitation program, including modifying work task demands 
  • Interpretation of information and development of return-to-work programs 
  • Manual handling measures and techniques 
  • Development of report writing and return-to-work plans 
  • Behaviour change techniques 
  • Motivational interviewing 
  • Understanding and referral of mental health concerns 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered through multi-mode delivery and aims to facilitate learner centred activities and inquiry-based learning. Learning and teaching strategies within this Master’s level unit are based on a blend of constructivism, social constructivism, and experiential learning. These strategies focus on active participation and developing a community of inquiry. Purposefully designed content and activities have been identified. This has led to the development of purposefully designed learning activities focusing on inquiry-based learning principles aimed at encouraging critical thinking, clinical decision-making, application of knowledge and skills, evidence for practice, collaborative peer learning, and critical self-reflection. 

Students participate in individual and small group activities based on analysis of current practice, to assimilate application of acquired knowledge and facilitate translation of learning into practice. Engagement in extended dialogue is encouraged to guide change to a more interprofessional, person-centred practice. Unit activities include, but are not limited to: guided readings, synchronous on-line tutorials, web-based activities and practical workshops, which include skill development, case-study simulations, work-based activities with reflection to enhance practice. To facilitate practical application of knowledge and skills, multi-mode delivery requires participation in weekly practical workshops. Where possible, workshop activities are designed as reusable learning objects. Activities are aimed to facilitate acquisition of advanced knowledge and skills in assessment and exercise intervention planning strategies.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessment tasks in this unit have been purposefully designed to prepare for and replicate authentic clinical practice, with an “assessment for learning” approach to provide evidence for judgement of learning and to reinforce, facilitate and support learning and its application. The assessment tasks have been designed to provide a broad range of tasks aligned to andragogic principles of adult learning, facilitating choice and self-direction for the post graduate student. The design enables timely judgement to ensure students have appropriate knowledge and skills prior to workplace application. 

The first assessment task enables students to apply advanced knowledge and understanding of functional anatomy and ergonomic principles in the compilation of a comprehensive report on a real life workplace situation. This task enables students to develop professional report writing skills and clinical justification skills. The second assessment task enables students to develop a broader understanding of ways to apply ergonomic tools to achieve effective risk prevention intervention for a workplace activity. The final assessment task enables students to develop their skills to complete practicum reports and apply their learning of OHS related issues of work stations.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Case study and report writing

Enables students to apply the principles of Occupational Rehabilitation to write a comprehensive report based on a real life workplace situation.


 LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5, LO6, LO7

 GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Ergonomic Project Report

Enables students to apply the principles of ergonomics to solving a manual materials handling (MMH) problem in a workplace through provision of recommendations for risk mitigation strategies including prevention of WRMSDs.


LO1, LO2, LO5

GA4, GA5,

Workstation Evaluation Report

Enables students to apply ergonomic principles of workstation design through undertaking field measurements relevant to typical workplace OHS related issues involving operator tasks, workstation design and optimal fit.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA7

Representative texts and references

Australian Safety and Compensation Council (2007). National Code of Practice for the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders from performing manual tasks at work.  

Bridger, RS. (2009). Introduction to Ergonomics (3rd ed). London, UK: Taylor & Francis.

Chaffin, DB, Andersson, GBJ, & Martin, BJ. (2006). Occupational Biomechanics (4th ed). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Comcare (2012). Rehabilitation Guidelines for Employers.,_309_KB.pdf 

Marlow, N, Hastings, K, & Hansson, J. (2013). Exercise & Sports Science Australia’s Outcome Measures for Exercise Physiologists: Ensuring Evidence Based Practice. Queensland: Exercise & Sports Science Australia.

Marks, F., Dinnen, D., & Fieldus, L. (2013). The New Work Health & Safety Legislation: A Practical Guide. Annandale, NSW: The Federation Press. 

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (2007). Ergonomic Guidelines for Manual Material Handing. 

National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (2005). National Code of Practice for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MDS) from Manual Handling at Work. 

Pheasant, S. (2005). Bodyspace: Anthropometry, Ergonomics and Design (3rd ed). London, UK: Taylor & Francis.

Worksafe Victoria (2012). Clinical Framework for the Delivery of Health Services.

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