Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

150 hours over a twelve-week semester or equivalent study period

Unit rationale, description and aim

From 2003 to 2018, 3,895 Australian workers lost their lives in work-related incidents and almost 1.7 million workers made workers’ compensation claims for serious injury or illness. Occupational Health and Safety practitioners work to effect change in this important and challenging area of workers’, managers’, and organisations’ lives and their skills are required in all organisations. This unit is introductory yet practical in nature and provides students with an understanding of basic principles of OHS management, with a view to having the same addressed in greater detail by subsequent units, should students go on to complete a minor in OHSE.  

Topic areas covered include an introduction to OHS; OHS management concepts; hazards, risks and risk management; risk assessment and control; good work design; consultation and training; emergency planning; standards and management systems; evaluation of OHS performance; auditing; and rethinking OHS. As a result, students will have the opportunity to explore and discuss a range of OHS management issues and develop skills in applying basic OHS practices in national and international organisational contexts. In doing so, this unit aims to provide students with the foundation knowledge and skills on which to base further development in OHS practice and/or to have informed discourse about OHS issues with organisational stakeholders. 

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 - Evaluate occupational health and safety concepts including risk management, consultation and worker participation, and the conceptual structure underpinning OHS professional practice. (GA4, GA5)  

LO2 - Compare and contrast basic concepts of hazard and risk management using OHS concepts, models and practices. (GA5, GA8) 

LO3 - Design and implement risk management processes in a legislative and organisational context. (GA5) 

LO4 - Communicate OHS issues data and relevant technologies effectively to internal and external organisational stakeholders. (GA5, GA10) 

LO5 - Apply knowledge of OHS audit programs through critical review of their efficacy in managing risk and communicate this to various stakeholders (GA5, GA9) 

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.


Topics will include: 

  • introduction to OHS  
  • OHS management concepts 
  • hazards, risks and risk management  
  • risk assessment and control  
  • good work design  
  • consultation and training  
  • emergency planning  
  • standards and management systems  
  • evaluation of OHS performance  
  • auditing  
  • rethinking OHS
  • effective communication of OHS information and data 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Mode: Online

Pattern of attendance and duration: 12 week-semester or equivalent.

Students should anticipate undertaking 150 hours of study for this unit, including weekly learning activities, readings and assignment preparation.

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 in order 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 and international 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 on the grounds that 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, based around online discussion, requires students to combine their views and experiences with research from the academic literature while considering and responding to views expressed or questions posed by other students. The second item is a business report that requires students to draw on the content and models covered in this unit, as well as relevant academic and industry-based literature and legislative requirements as a means of preparing a basic risk management report. This report can be based on the student's own (de-identified) workplace or community environment. The third item is an academic paper that is aimed at addressing the question of whether audit programs facilitate continuous performance improvement with regards to OHS risk management. This report, which can reference the student's own (de-identified) workplace, should focus on the practical implications of OHS monitoring and review programs, such as management system auditing, for the ongoing improvement of OHS performance. Although these reports are to be practical/applied in nature, they remain academic papers and must therefore satisfy that evidentiary standard with academic references to support arguments.

In order to pass this unit, students are required to achieve an overall mark of at least 50% and must make an attempt at all three 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 assessment task consists of a 1200-word discussion forum activity in which students must choose three initial posts and three responses to other students from discussion activities to submit. This task aims to assess OHS communication skills, basic knowledge of legislative, national and international perspectives for OHS, and the ability to analyse and evaluate general OHS principles in different organisational and statutory contexts. 

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Discussion Forum Activity

Artefact: Written discussion forum posts


LO1, LO2 

GA4, GA5, GA8 

Assessment Task 2: OHS Risk Management Report: 

This assessment task consists of a 1500-word written OHS Risk Management Report. This task requires students to analyse their own (de-identified) workplace or community environment. This task aims to authentically assess the student's ability to design basic OHS risk management processes. It also provides the opportunity to test their written OHS communication skills when communicating effectively to various organisational stakeholders. 

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: OHS Risk Management Report

Artefact: Written report



GA5, GA10 

Assessment Task 3: Critical Review of Audit Programs: 

This assessment task consists of a 1300-word critical report in which students are able to reference their own (de-identified) workplace. This task requires students to analyse and communicate the practical implications of OHS monitoring and review programs, such as management system auditing, critical review of their efficacy in managing risk for the ongoing improvement of OHS performance. 

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Critical Report

Artefact: Written report


LO4, LO5 

GA5, GA9, GA10

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.

 Glendon, A. & Clarke, S (2015). Human Safety and Risk Management: A Psychological Perspective, Third Edition. CRC Press, ISBN 9781482220544.

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

 Wilson, J. & Sharples, S (2015). Evaluation of Human Work, Fourth Edition. CRC Press, ISBN 9781466559615. 

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