Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

3 hours per week (two hours of lectures and one hour of tutorial) for 12 weeks or equivalent in intensive mode or online

Unit rationale, description and aim

A thorough understanding of Occupational Health Safety and Environment (OHSE) concepts, theories and legislative terminology forms the foundation for modern OHSE professionals being able to meet their personal, moral and statutory commitment to achieving a healthy and safe work environment. Ensuring health, safety and welfare for individuals broadly demonstrates respect for both humans' interaction in society and the environment. This unit is introductory but also practical in nature and aims to provide students with a fundamental understanding of the principles of OHSE management, with a view to having the same addressed in greater detail by subsequent units. Topic areas covered include OHSE management concepts and systems; hazards, risks and risk management; risk assessment and control; local, national and global environmental impact (risk) assessment; safe design; legislative and organisational context for practice; consultation and training; emergency planning and security risk management; evaluation of OHSE performance; and rethinking OHSE. Students will have the opportunity to explore and discuss and assimilate these topics as well as develop skills in communicating potential impact/s to drive OHSE performance improvements. This unit aims to provide students with the foundational knowledge and skills to identify and manage introductory OHSE issues within the national legislative setting and organisational context.

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 - Compare and contrast occupational health safety and environment concepts, processes and performance measures, including advanced concepts of hazard and risk, for the common good of the worker, particularly in terms of health and safety, through a critical review of academic literature. (GA4, GA5)

LO2 - Evaluate the conceptual structure underpinning OHSE professional practice at the national level. (GA5, GA6)

LO3 - Communicate potential impacts of workplace safety, work hazards, security risks to drive OHSE performance improvement to various stakeholders in a variety of relevant contexts. (GA5).

LO4 - Analyse the main organisational, technological, industrial law and socio-cultural factors that influence OHSE-related decision making. (GA5). 

LO5 - Apply knowledge of OHSE philosophy through critical review of risk management strategies for various stakeholders (GA5)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and national perspectives into account 


Topics will include:

  • Introduction to OHSE
  • OHSE Management Concepts and Systems
  • Hazards, Risks and Risk Management
  • Risk Assessment and Control
  • Environmental Impact (Risk) Assessment
  • Safe Design
  • Legislative and Organisational Context for Practice
  • Consultation and Training
  • Emergency Planning and Security Risk Management
  • Evaluation of OHSE Performance
  • Rethinking OHSE

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This Unit employs a learning and teaching strategy that combines active learning (online lecture videos, reading, writing, and problem solving) and peer learning methods (discussion forums with lecturer input). Live online classrooms will be offered at regular intervals throughout the teaching period to allow students synchronous access to their lecturer and peers at defined times. Use of applied case studies and scenarios with reference to legislation and standards as well as national contexts are used to facilitate applied action learning. The provision of timely student feedback is also a key aspect of the learning and teaching strategy as this allows students to direct future learning behaviours and performance in a meaningful way. The online learning environment can be challenging in terms of encouraging student interaction and participation, and the Unit’s teaching methods have been chosen because they are most likely to support the achievement of learning outcomes and participation by a geographically diverse cohort of students.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Three assessment items are required in this Unit. The first assessment is based around online discussion, and requires students to combine their own views and experiences with research from the academic literature while considering and responding to views expressed or questions posed by other students. The second assessment item is an academic report where students review both academic literature and legislative context in order to critically discuss a contemporary OHSE concept/process discussed in this unit. The final item is an academic paper aimed at addressing the question of “what is your personal OHSE philosophy?” This paper should draw on (but not be limited to) the content and models covered in this subject, as well as relevant academic literature, as a means of analysing and detailing the student's personal philosophy and approach to OHSE management – in both professional and non-professional contexts. To pass this unit, students are required to achieve an overall mark of at least 50%, making an attempt at all three graded assessment items. The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Discussion Forum Activities:

This task consists of the submission of no more than 1000-written words curated from the Discussion Forum (entailing three of the student’s own posts as well as three of their responses to other students’ posts. This task requires students to apply their OHSE skills, knowledge of legislative and national perspectives for OHSE, and interpret general OHSE principles to different organisational and statutory contexts.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Discussion Forum Activity

Artefact: Written posts from discussion forum


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA5, GA6

Assessment Task 2: Critical Review of Contemporary OHSE Issue:

This assessment task consists of a 1750-written critical report. This task requires students to utilise their communications skills and review both academic literature and legislative context to critically analyse a contemporary OHSE concept/process discussed in this unit.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Critical Report

Artefact: Written report


LO3, LO4


Assessment Task 3: Personal OHSE Philosophy

This assessment task consists of a 1250-word written report. This task requires students to apply their knowledge of the subject content and academic literature to assess and detail how their personal philosophy may impact their own and others’ OHSE-related decision making.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Report

Artefact: Written report


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA6

Representative texts and references

Archer, R., Borthwick, K., Travers, M. Ruschena, L. (2018). WHS: A Management Guide. 5th Ed. Cengage, Victoria.

Australian Institute of Health and Safety (2019), The Core Body of Knowledge for Generalist OHS Professionals. Tullamarine, Victoria. 

Commonwealth of Australia (2012), Environmental health risk assessment: guidelines for assessing human health risks from environmental hazards, Department of Health and Ageing, Canberra.

Dekker, S (2014), Employees: A Problem to Control or Solution to Harness? Professional Safety, 59(8), 32.

Safe Work Australia (2015), Principles of Good Work Design: A work health and safety handbook Retrieved June 2016, from good-work-design

Standards Australia (2018), AS/NZS ISO 31000 Risk Management, Standards Australia, Sydney

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