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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

The field of Occupational Health is a specialist area within OHSE management and as such it is necessary for the generalist OHSE practitioner to have a basic understanding of what this field encompasses. In addition, as the role continues to evolve, reflecting the changes in technology and systems of work, OHSE practitioners are increasingly being called upon to manage wellbeing issues as well traditional primary prevention. This evolution of the role requires you to have understanding of wellbeing programs and RTW issues, as well as having the basic skills to respond to them. This unit introduces you to a broad range of occupational health and wellbeing topics that contemporary OHSE practitioners are likely to encounter such as manual tasks; slips, trips and falls; hazardous chemicals; noise; psychosocial hazards; human information processing; return to work considerations; fitness for duty; and wellbeing programs. In this unit you will have the opportunity to explore and discuss the above issues, as well as develop skills in risk profiling an organisation's occupational health risk management practices and critically analysing an organisation's wellbeing program. In doing so, this unit aims to provide you with the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills to analyse and manage a number of risk exposures with the potential to impact on worker health and wellbeing.

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 the basic principles of causation and basic risk analysis for specific occupational health hazards (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA10).  

LO2 - outline basic RTW and Fit for Duty considerations with reference to the legislative and organisational context (GA1, GA3, GA5, GA6, GA8).

LO3 - recommend control measures for specific occupational health hazards with reference to national and international OHSE legislation and standards and using appropriate business communication skills (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA10). 

LO4 - identify and scope occupational health risk profiles at an enterprise level (GA1, GA2, GA4, GA6, GA8). 

LO5 - apply knowledge of basic well-being practices in an organisational context with reference to the common good (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8). 

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: 

  • manual tasks 
  • slips, trips and falls 
  • introduction to hazardous chemicals 
  • noise 
  • intro to occupational health 1 (thermal comfort, vibration) 
  • intro to occupational health 2, (basic psychological safety) 
  • human information processing 
  • harassment and bullying 
  • return to work considerations 
  • fitness for duty 
  • wellbeing programs 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit employs a learning strategy that combines active learning (online lecture videos, reading, writing, discussion, critical analysis 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 real-life 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. It also requires you to consider and respond to views expressed or questions posed by other students. The second assessment task is an organisation-level occupational health risk profile report. The third assessment item is a critical review of an applied organisational wellbeing program. Assessment items 2 and 3 both require you to draw on the content and models covered in this unit, as well as relevant academic and industry based literature and legislative requirements. The reports can be based on your own (de-identified) organisation if you choose. Although these reports are to be practical/applied in nature, they remain academic papers and must therefore satisfy that evidentiary standard.  

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 basic knowledge of causation and risk analysis for specific occupational health hazards, fit for duty and RTW considerations with reference to legislative and organizational context. It also assesses your ability to make recommendations for control measures using appropriate interactive communication skills. 


LO1, LO3 

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10  

Assessment 2: Organisation-level Occupational Health Risk Profile Report 

By providing the option of completing this task for your own (de-identified) workplace, this task aims to authentically assess your ability to apply basic risk analysis and make recommendations for controlling risk for occupational health hazards with reference to relevant legislation and standards. It also provides the opportunity to test your written communication skills for the business environment. 


LO1, LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8 

Assessment 3: Critical Review of Organisation Wellbeing Program  

The purpose of this task is to assess your application of knowledge of basic well-being practices and how this may be integrated with measures to manage broader occupational health hazards in organisations. It also provides the opportunity to test your written communication skills for the business environment. 


LO2, LO3, LO5 

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8  

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. 

Della-Giustina, D 2009, Developing a Safety and Health Program, Second Edition. CRC Press, ISBN 9781439814383.  

Yates, W 2015, Safety Professional's Reference and Study Guide, Second Edition. CRC Press, ISBN 9781482256659.  

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

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

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