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  • Term Mode
  • ACU Term 1Online Unscheduled
  • ACU Term 3Online Unscheduled


OHSE601 Principles of OHSE Management AND OHSE602 Occupational Health, Safety, and Environmental Management Systems

Teaching organisation

3 hours per week (two hours of lectures and one hour of tutorial) for 12 weeks or equivalent in intensive mode or online.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Improving OHSE performance is one of the core aims for OHSE practitioners as doing so reduces the risk or likelihood of harm to workers and others, including organisations and communities, both nationally and globally. This unit will help students understand practical OHSE data characteristics, applications and limitations. It will also assist students to interpret and make recommendations from third party research and reports. Students will develop skills in influencing decision makers through the persuasive interpretation of empirically grounded data, such as leading and lagging indicators of OHSE performance, and alignment with organisational culture and values and understand ethical practice for OHSEM. The unit also provides students with the opportunity to develop a business case for an OHSE intervention evaluating the time-line for financial return as well as appraising the non-financial benefits for organisations and workers. Students will be exploring the relational paradigms in gaining the best outcomes from their own auditing and audit teams; as well as effectively communicating results and recommendations to boards and key decision makers. Finally, students will have the opportunity to explore, and use, emerging global reporting frameworks which provide a platform to demonstrate corporate social responsibility as a form of best practice in OHSEM. The aim of this unit is to provide students with the necessary knowledge, acumen and skill to not only make valid interpretations of technical data but to value add by its successful translation into influencing business stakeholders' responsible and ethical decision-making through recognising their responsibility to workers' rights and dignity, the environment and society.

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.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome Description
LO1Apply and appraise contemporary measures of OHSE performance including OHS leading and lagging indicators, in order to influence business stakeholders’ responsible and ethical decision making
LO2Critically compare and apply techniques used to improve OHSE performance including constructing a business case to improve OHSE performance to meet national and international obligations and standards
LO3Critically appraise the steps and processes in OHSE auditing and relate these to other organizational systems to maximize improvements in OHSE performance, through demonstrating values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession
LO4Communicate effectively with business stakeholders and key decision makers, from senior leaders to employees and external stakeholders, to measure, report findings, and improve OHSE performance


Topics include:

  • Introduction to OHSE Performance and the common good 
  • Application of OHSE Performance Measures – their derivation and use  
  • Critical Review of OHSE Performance Measures  
  • Strategic Planning and Business Case for OHSE  
  • Communicating OHSE with Senior Management and Boards of Management  
  • Communicating for Influence with Employees – Psychology of Safety Behaviour  
  • OHSE Performance and the Role of Audit  
  • The Audit Process  
  • OHSE Auditing  
  • Interview Skills for OHSE Practitioners  
  • Leading OHSE Teams  
  • Ethical Issues for OHSE Practitioners  

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This Unit employs a learning and teaching strategy that combines active learning (engaging with online lecture videos, reading, writing and case studies to analyse, synthesise and problem solve) and peer learning methods (engaging with peers and the lecturer via online tools to collaborate, query and elaborate). Live online classrooms will be offered at regular intervals throughout the teaching period to allow students synchronous access to their lecturer and peers at defined times or ACU Online 10 week asynchronous delivery mode. 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 because they are most likely to support the achievement of learning outcomes and participation by a geographically diverse cohort of students.  

ACU Online

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Three assessment items are required in this Unit. The first assessment is participation in a guided discussion which requires engagement in discussions on topical issues related to Improving OHSE Performance. The task requires students to respond to the questions/activities and respond to other students through online discussion. The second assessment task is a business report which requires students to develop the business case for an OHS intervention and then to show through a cost -benefit analysis the financial and non-financial outcomes from the proposed intervention. The third assessment item requires the bringing together key learnings from the Unit into a sustainability report in the role of an OHSE manager. In this report students will need to make a case for any recommendations from the report in the context of ethical practice and the stated values of their organisation. 

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 Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Discussion Forum Activity

This task consists of a 1000-word report compiled from a series of six online guided discussions. It requires students to analyse and apply key OHSE concepts presented weekly and introduces the techniques of collaboration in student-directed learning with their cohort, through demonstrating values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession and recognising their responsibility in applying ethical decision making frameworks.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Forum Report

Artefact: Written Report


LO1, LO2

Assessment Task 2: OHS Business Case

This task consists of a 1500-word written Business Case Report. This task requires students to  translate of research data into an intervention for better OHS outcomes in a realistic scenario. It requires students to explore and critically reflect on all opportunities and challenges to their intervention and to quantify the net result in light of knowledge covered in the unit.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Business Case Report

Artefact: Written report


LO2, LO3

Assessment Task 3: Sustainability Report

This assessment task consists of a 1500-word written Sustainability Report. This task requires students to prepare a draft sustainability report for the Director of a hypothetical company which will ultimately be presented to stakeholders at the annual general meeting of organisation. This task is a summation of the  learnings from the unit and requires students to build on earlier risk assessment and auditing techniques to interpret results into an international framework to generate a report which is reflective of both social and ethical responsibility and effectively communicate this to various stakeholders.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Sustainability Report

Artefact: Written report   


LO1, LO4

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

AIHS (Australian Institute of Health & Safety), 2019. Ethics and professional practice. In The Core Body of Knowledge for Generalist OHS Professionals. Tullamarine, VIC: Australian Institute of Health & Safety.

Almond, P. and Elbester, M. 2016. Chapter 8, The Changing Legitimacy of Health and Safety at work, 1960– 2015. Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Wigston, UK.  

Asbury, S. 2013. Chapters 2, 3, 5-7, Health, safety, environment and quality audits: a risk-based approach, (2nd ed.). Routledge, London.  

Borys, D. 2015. Do occupational safety and health professionals improve the occupational safety and health performance in an organisation? Journal of Health and Safety Research and Practice, 7(1), 2-13.  

Centre for Safety and Health Sustainability (CSHS), 2016. Best Practice Guide for Occupational Health and Safety in Sustainability Reports. Park Ridge, Illinois.  

Erikson, J. 2016. Interdisciplinarity: Increasing safety performance. Journal of Professional Safety, November 2016, 26-32.  

Janicak, M. 2015. Chapters 8-11, Safety Metrics: Tools and Techniques for Measuring Safety Performance, (3rd ed.). Bernan Press, Maryland.  

O’Niell, S. and Wolfe, K. 2017. Measuring and Reporting on Work Health and Safety. Safe Work Australia, Canberra.  

Shea, T. De Coero, H. Donohue, R. Cooper, B. and Sheeha, C. 2016. Leading indicators of occupational health and safety: An employee and workplace level validation study. Journal of Safety Science, 86, 293-304.  

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