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OTHY202 Ergonomics and Occupational Health and Safety

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Occupational Therapists require the knowledge and skills related to vocational rehabilitation, work related injury management and employment support for people with an activity or participation restriction. This unit introduces you to vocational rehabilitation, case management, worker’s compensation and disability employment services. You will acquire specific knowledge and skills in assessment and return to work planning and integrate previously developed skills of observation and report writing. You will participate in group-based discussions and practical tasks where you will clarify and extend your understanding of the key concepts. One week of simulated professional practice experience provides the opportunity for you to apply your learnt skills and knowledge.

The overall aim of the unit is to prepare students for practice in a vocational rehabilitation setting. 

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 - Apply principles of case management within relevant legislative frameworks to facilitate return to work of an injured worker (GA8)

LO2 - Identify and recommend  appropriate assessments, interventions and evaluations in order to respond to changes in human systems and work environment resulting from  disabilities, chronic health conditions, injury and abnormal development or of a psychological nature and which affects vocational performance (GA5)

LO3 - Develop appropriate program plans including selection of assessments, interventions and evaluations with regard to risk identification and management using vocational rehabilitation theories and processes (GA4, GA8)

LO4 - Differentiate between models of employment support for individuals with physical, intellectual and psychosocial conditions (GA5)

LO5 - Provide clear, accurate and comprehensive documentation as required for the relevant regulatory organisation/s for vocational rehabilitation programs (GA5, GA9, GA10)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

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

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

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.

AOTCS 2018

Australian occupational therapy competency standards (AOTCS) 2018, developed in this unit are:

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

1. Professionalism

1.1: Complies with the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia's standards, guidelines and Code of conduct

1.2: Adheres to legislation relevant to practice

1.5: Practises in a culturally responsive and culturally safe manner, with particular respect to culturally diverse client groups

1.7: Collaborates and consults ethically and responsibly for effective client-centred and interprofessional practice

1.8: Adheres to all work health and safety, and quality requirements for practice

1.9: Identifies and manages the influence of her/his values and culture on practice

1.10: Practises within limits of her/his own level of competence and expertise

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

2. Knowledge and Learning

2.1: Applies current and evidence-informed knowledge of occupational therapy and other appropriate and relevant theory in practice

2.2: Applied theory and frameworks of occupation to professional practice and decision making

2.3: Identifies and applies best available evidence in professional practice and decision making

2.8: reflects on practice to inform current and future reasoning and decision- making and the integration of theory and evidence into practice.

1, 2, 3, 4

3. Occupational Therapy process and practice

3.2 Performs appropriate information gathering and assessment when identifying a client’s status and functioning, strengths, occupational performance and goals 

3.3: Collaborates with the client and relevant others to determine the priorities and occupational therapy goals 

3.4: Develops a plan with the client and relevant others to meet identified occupational therapy goals 

3.5. Selects and implements culturally responsive and safe practice strategies to suit the occupational therapy goals and environment of the client 

3.7: Reflects on practice to inform and communicate professional reasoning and decisionmaking

3.8 Identifies and uses practice guidelines and protocols suitable to the practice setting or work environment

3.11 evaluates client and service outcomes to inform future practice 

3.12 Uses effective collaborative, multidisciplinary and interprofessional approaches for decision-making and planning 

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

4. Communication

4.1. Communicates openly, respectfully and effectively 

4.2: Adapts written, verbal and non-verbal communication appropriate to the client and practice context 

4.4: Uses culturally responsive, safe and relevant communication tools and strategies 

4.5: Complies with legal and procedural requirements for the responsible and accurate documentation, sharing and storage of professional information and records of practice 

4.6: Maintains contemporaneous, accurate and complete records of practice 

4.7: Obtains informed consent for practice and information-sharing from the client or legal guardian 

4.8: Maintains collaborative professional relationships with clients, health professionals and relevant others 

4.9: Uses effective communication skills to initiate and end relationships with clients and relevant others 

4.10: Seeks and responds to feedback, modifying communication and/or practice accordingly, and 

411: Identifies and articulates the rationale for practice to clients and relevant others.

1, 2, 3, 5


Occupational therapy theories and vocational rehabilitation 

  • Application of MOHO to workplace occupational participation
  • Impact of injury or illness on occupational/vocational participation
  • Approaches, theories and models of vocational rehabilitation 


Occupational and vocational rehabilitation and return to work for individuals with

  • Psychological issues 
  • Psychosocial issues
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Physical disabilities
  • Disabilities of an acute or chronic nature 

Preparation for, and engagement in, Professional Practice placement and simulated learning experiences

Injury management and case management processes under relevant occupational legislation 

  • Functional capacity evaluation 
  • Work assessment 
  • Job analysis
  • Workers Compensation, and OHS Legislation and other relevant legislation
  • Knowledge of rehabilitation and return to work organisations and their services.

Develop and write a vocational rehabilitation intervention plan

  • Employment support plan
  • Graduated return to work plan
  • Identifying and overcoming barriers to workplace participation
  • Change management
  • Program evaluation, monitoring and supporting progress

Professional ethics in occupational health and safety rehabilitation and return to work

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Teaching and learning strategies for this unit will include lectures, practical sessions, case studies and self-directed learning. You will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities, demonstrating respect for the individual as an independent learner.

The learning and teaching strategies in this unit are linked to achieving the described learning outcomes. These learning experiences will provide you with the opportunity to develop your assessment and communication skills in addition to clinical and reflective thinking in vocational rehabilitation. Skills from previous units will be utilsed, such as building rapport with a client, communication skills, OT models of practice and clinical reasoning.

You will develop foundation knowledge of vocational rehabilitation and have opportunities to practice skills in situation based learning scenarios in practical sessions. To demonstrate your learning and skills you will participate in a one week simulated placement to apply principles of workplace assessment and return to work procedures using case study scenarios in a simulated vocational rehabilitation setting.

Your study and assessment schedule have been designed to enable you to learn sequentially and build on your knowledge each week through the sequence of gain, apply and integrate. The unit is split in to two halves; the first 1-5 weeks focussing on compensable vocational rehabilitation and weeks 6-12 on non-compensable vocational rehabilitation. This will allow you to develop clear knowledge and understanding of the role of an Occupational Therapist within these two types of employment support.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.   Such procedures may include, but are not limited to:  essays, reports, examinations, student presentations or case studies. The simulated professional practice experience has been developed to meet the recommended guidelines for simulation including authenticity, complexity, immediacy to practice, students assessed and the use of multiple modalities. 

In order to pass this unit, you are required to:

  • Achieve a cumulative grade of ≥50% 
  • Attempt and submit all assessment tasks
  • Gain a satisfactory rating for the Occupational Therapy Student Competencies on the modified SPEF-R (Student Practice Evaluation Form – Revised Edition, section 1, 2 & 4) by the conclusion of your simulated professional practice placement.
  • You must meet the attendance requirements set for tutorials.

Teaching and learning strategies for this unit will include lectures, tutorials and independent fieldwork. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities, demonstrating respect for the individual as an independent learner.

It is very important that you complete the necessary preparation for each lecture and tutorial. You must bring the correct resources, do the readings and complete any preparation tasks as directed to enable you to effectively engage in the learning.

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. These assessment procedures include: an online quiz (Assessment 1); a report (Assessment 2); and 1 written exam (Assessment 3).  The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for you to demonstrate your achievement of each learning outcome.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes


The quiz provides an opportunity to assess key concepts and provides formative feedback


1, 4

5, 8

Assignment -

This assignment enables the students develop a return to work plan for a case study



4, 5, 8, 9, 10


This will examine the students understanding of vocational rehabilitation and its application through case studies  



4, 5, 8, 

Representative texts and references

Archer, R., Borthwick, K., Travers, M. & Ruschena, L. (2012). WHS: A management guide (4th ed) Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia.

Braveman, B. & Page, J.  (2012). Promoting Participation & Productivity through Occupational Therapy. F.A. Davis Company.


Jacobs, K. (2008). Ergonomics for therapists (3rd ed.). Mosby Elsevier. (no longer available for purchase, copies in library)


Kielhofner, G., & Taylor, R. R. (2017). Kielhofner's model of human occupation : theory and application (Fifth edition.). Wolters Kluwer.[M1] 


Nicholas, M. (2012). Manage your pain: Practical and positive ways of adapting to chronic pain. Souvenir Press.

Ross, J. (2007). Occupational Therapy and vocational rehabilitation. Electronic reproduction. ebrary, 2009

Schultz, I. Z., & Gatchel, R. J. (2016). Handbook of Return to Work From Research to Practice (1st ed. 2016.). Springer US : Imprint: Springer.


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