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

A comprehensive understanding of hazards, their mechanisms of injury, and how to control associated risk exposure is essential for modern OHSE practitioners to meet their personal, moral, ethical and statutory commitment of contributing to healthy and safe work. This unit introduces students to the theory and practice of risk management as applied to specific hazards that OHSE professionals typically encounter in promoting human dignity in a diverse range of occupational locations. Hazards covered include thermal comfort, hazardous chemicals, biomechanical and psychosocial hazards, infectious agents, electricity, occupational driving, working at heights, mobile plant, asbestos, and construction related hazards. In this unit, students will have the opportunity to prepare a case study and detailed risk management report as a means of exploring and discussing a range of specific OHSE hazards, developing skills and understanding of the nature of their potential impact/s on health and safety, as well as the range of risk control strategies that are available. In doing so, this unit aims to provide students with the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills to identify, analysis and manage a range of OHSE risk exposures within the legislative and organisational context so they can apply best OHSE practice in a professional and ethical manner.

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 - examine how specific OHSE hazards lead to adverse effects on health, safety, environment and have a negative impact on human dignity and human life (GA1, GA5) 

LO2 - apply ethical decision making in choosing appropriate risk assessment methods to apply to specific OHSE hazards to determine level of risk (GA3, GA5)

LO3 - distinguish and analyse basic interventions to control the risk associated with specific hazards with reference to OHSE legislation and standards (GA4, GA5) 

LO4 - evaluate, identify and scope the type and nature of occupational hazards at the industry level (GA5, GA8) 

LO5 - recommend strategies to peers and key workplace stakeholders using appropriate OHS information, data, and communication skills (GA5, 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 

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

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


Topics will include: 

  • introduction to the physical hazards’ exposure and ethical and legal frameworks 
  • risk management: thermal comfort  
  • risk management: hazardous chemicals  
  • risk management: biomechanical  
  • risk management: psychosocial 
  • risk management: infectious agents  
  • risk management: electricity 
  • risk management: occupational driving  
  • risk management: working at heights  
  • risk management: mobile plant  
  • risk management: asbestos 
  • risk management: construction
  • trends in managing physical hazards' exposure 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit employs a learning and teaching strategy that combines active learning (online lecture videos, reading, writing, and case study based 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 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 is video recorded tool box talk concerned with the management of an OHSE risk exposure related to the Unit content.. This tool box talk should focus on the broader issues associated with the management of the key OHSE risk exposure. The third assessment item requires students to draw on the content and models covered in this unit,  as well as relevant academic and industry based literature, as a means of critically preparing a detailed risk management report, applying specialist risk analysis techniques to a nominated hazard. This report, which can be based on the student’s own workplace, should not only provide a risk analysis for a nominated hazard, but should also critique the available risk analysis methodologies relating to the same. 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 1250 00 written words from six discussion forum posts, from weeks 1 to 6 of the Unit content. This task requires students to apply ethical decision making when discussing their recommended solutions with their peers on the management of OHSE risk exposure and with reference to academic literature.  Their ability to critically discuss interventions, control strategies and legislative requirements will also be assessed.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Discussion Forum Activity

Artefact: Written discussion forum posts


LO1, LO4 

GA1, GA5, GA8  

Assessment 2: Video of tool box talk

This assessment task consists of a number of case study choices, of which one is chosen by the student to video record themselves providing a tool box talk, of approximately 10 – 12  minutes in duration with script. This task requires students to think critically and reflectively to  recommend and defend evidence based measures to control the specific OHSE risk exposures.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Video presentation

Artefact: Video


LO3, LO4 

 GA4, GA5, GA8 

Assessment 3: Critical Risk Management Report

This assessment task requires students to draw on their evaluation and analytical skills to develop a 1750written report addressing  a particular physical hazard in a workplace. Students are required to critically review, to use hazard specific methods to determine risk, and to recommend control measures to workplace stakeholders. This report, which can be based on the students own workplace  should include critique the available risk analysis methodologies relating to the same and describe basic interventions to control the risk.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Report

Artefact: Written report


LO2, LO3, LO5 

GA3, GA4, GA5, 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

Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) 2009. Strategic environmental compliance and performance review: industry monitoring, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water NSW. This can be downloaded from NSW DECCW website, at:


ISO 45001, Occupational health and safety management systems - Requirements with guidance for use”.

Safework Australia, 2006, Work-related Infectious and Parasitic Diseases Australia. This is located at

Safework Australia, 2011, National Hazard Worker Exposure Surveillance: Exposure to Biological Hazards and the Provision of Controls against Biological Hazards in Australian Workplaces. This is located at

Safe Work Australia 2016, Model managing electrical risks in the workplace code of practice, Safe Work Australia, Canberra. This can be downloaded from the Safe Work Australia website, at:

Safe Work Australia 2016, Model Confined spaces code of practice, Safe Work Australia, Canberra. This can be downloaded from the Safe Work Australia website, at:

Safe Work Australia 2015, Model Managing noise and preventing hearing loss at work code of practice, Safe Work Australia, Canberra. This can be downloaded from the Safe Work Australia website, at:

Safe Work Australia 2016, Model managing risks of hazardous chemicals in the workplace. This code can be accessed from the Safe Work Australian website at:

Safe Work Australia 2016, Model how to safety remove asbestos code of practice. This code can be accessed from the Safe Work Australian website at:

Safe Work Australia 2011, Model Code of Practice for Managing Work Environment and Facilities. This code can be accessed from the Safe Work Australia Website


Standards Australia (SA) 2001, AS/NZS 4801 Occupational health and safety management systems - specification with guidance for use, Standards Australia, Sydney.

Standards Australia (SA) 2018, AS/NZS ISO 31000 Risk management: principles and guidelines, Standards Australia, Sydney.

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