Credit points


Campus offering

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OHSE201 Introduction to OHS

Teaching organisation

3 hours of lectures and tutorials per week for 12 weeks as the on-campus load during the semester or equivalent. Online students are expected to spend a minimum of 8 hours per week on study, readings and assessment preparation.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Occupational Health Safety and Environmental Management is a challenging field that requires practitioners to be agents of influence that can facilitate the development, implementation and maintenance of comprehensive OHSE management systems. As such, practitioners need to have a comprehensive knowledge, not only of the hazards and risk exposures to be managed, but also the manner by which such issues can be best managed in what are often complex organisational environments. In this unit you will learn about topics such critical thinking; communication, consultation and participation for OHSE; stakeholder needs assessments; OHSE management systems; applied OHSE risk analysis; risk communication; contractor safety management systems; Safety culture and leadership; as well as Safety II and Safety Differently. National, international and ethical contexts will be considered throughout. As a result, you will have the opportunity to explore, discuss, and develop skills in analysis, worker consultation, and the effective implementation of OHSE management systems. In doing so, this unit aims to provide you with the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills to function and influence effectively in an OHSE role.

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 - describe and apply the basic principles of OHSE communication, worker and stakeholder consultation, and participation in a legislative and organisational context (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA10) 

LO2 - compare and contrast how OHSE management systems and strategies can influence OHSE performance (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA10) 

LO3 - apply a range of generic OHSE risk analysis techniques to different organisational and statutory contexts and communicate these to peers and organisational stakeholders (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8) 

LO4 - apply knowledge of safety culture and leadership fundamentals to influence OHSE performance with reference to national and international contexts (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA10). 

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 

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

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

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


Topics will include: 

  • critical thinking 
  • communication, consultation and participation frameworks 
  • stakeholder needs assessments 
  • facilitating participation 
  • OHSE management systems  
  • applied OHSE risk analysis 
  • risk communication 
  • contractor safety management systems 
  • OHSE leadership 
  • organisational culture and control for OHSE 
  • safety II and safety differently 

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). Optional 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 you to combine your 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 item is a business report that requires you 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 detailed OHSE communication plan. This report, which can be based on your own workplace, should focus on stakeholder consultation and participation within an OHSE management system and discuss how this impacts OHSE performance. The third assessment item is a critical analysis of an OHSMS/culture/leadership case study that requires you to apply your knowledge of safety culture and safety leadership models and identify how these are related to OHSE 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 your arguments. 

In order to pass this unit, you are required to achieve an overall mark of at least 50% and must make a credible attempt at all three assessment items. 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

Assessment 1: Discussion Forum 

This task aims to assess your OHSE communication skills, your basic knowledge of legislative, national and international perspectives for OHSE, and your ability to apply generic OHSE risk analysis techniques to different organizational and statutory contexts. 



GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8  

Assessment 2: OHSE Stakeholder Communication, Consultation and Participation Plan 

By providing the option of completing this task for your own (de-identified) workplace, this task aims to authentically assess your ability to apply the basic principles of OHSE communication, worker and stakeholder consultation and in doing so, demonstrate your understanding of the importance of OHSE participation in OHSE management systems and performance. It also provides the opportunity to test your written OHSE communication skills for the business environment. 


LO1, LO2 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA10 

Assessment 3: Case Study: OHSMS, Culture and Leadership 

The purpose of this task is to assess your application of your basic knowledge of safety culture and leadership principles, within the context of OHSE management systems. It also provides the opportunity to assess whether you can identify how these factors can influence OHSE performance.  


LO2, LO4 

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA10 

Electronic submission, marking and return is being used for this unit. Submission will be via Turnitin, and checking for academic honesty will occur. 

Representative texts and references

Reese, C 2015, Occupational Health and Safety Management: A Practical Approach, Third Edition. CRC Press, ISBN 9781138749573. 

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

Winn, G 2016, Practical Leadership Skills for Safety Professionals and Project Engineers. CRC Press, ISBN 9781498758222.  

Archer, R., Borthwick, K. & Travers, M 2017, WHS: A Management Guide, Edition 5. Cengage Learning Australia, ISBN 9780170386319.  

Hollnagel, E 2014, Safety-I and Safety–II: The Past and Future of Safety Management. Ashgate Publishing Ltd, ISBN 9781472423085. 

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