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In addition to our e-newsletter the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board puts out a Quick Update when there are news items that may be of interest.  This second Update for 2016 gives an update on accreditation which is which is especially relevant as the Accreditation Board celebrates its 5th anniversary this month. It also gives an update on the VET sector and some highlights for the upcoming SIA Annual conference in Sydney to look forward to.


New accreditations

Central Queensland University – Bachelor of OHS

The Bachelor of Occupational Health and Safety provided by Central Queensland University was accredited in March this year. This accreditation is a milestone for OHS education with all standalone OHS Bachelor programs now accredited. CQU offers the OHS bachelor program ‘on-campus’ across four campuses in three states as well as in external mode. The students also benefit from compulsory ‘residential’ sessions involving work at the innovative crash lab. While this is a challenging delivery model the accreditation panel considered that the options provided students with an enhanced learning experience beyond that of a fully distance mode.

University of Western Australia – Graduate Diploma of Work Health and Safety

The University of Western Australia’s Graduate Diploma of Work Health and Safety is the most recent accreditation. The UWA program has a strong science base that builds on a strict entry requirement of a bachelor degree in a science discipline or a bachelor degree in any discipline with two years OHS experience. While the program accommodates those with experience seeking further development, the strength of the program is that it specifically targets graduates of bachelor programs who aspire to OHS professional roles but who have little or no OHS experience. See media release attached.

Current status of accreditations  


Demand for qualifications

A recent remuneration survey by Safesearch showed a continuing demand for university level qualifications, particularly masters, for the higher level roles.

Accreditation from 2017

A formal review of the implementation of accreditation was conducted in 2014-15 which culminated in a consultative Accreditation Forum held in Melbourne and online in November 2015. Concurrent with this review the Australian Government reviewed the standards for universities with the legislation for the new Threshold Standards approved in December 2015. Universities are required to be compliant with the new Standards by January 2017. As it is the policy of the Accreditation Board to align OHS accreditation criteria with university standards the new Threshold Standards were a further input to the review. The outcomes of the review resulted in revised criteria and fee schedule effective from January 2017 for new accreditations; currently accredited qualifications will migrate to the new criteria as part of the annual review process and as they renew their accreditation.

The revised criteria, information pack and application pack are available on the web site

Vocational education and training 

The quality of VET work health and safety qualification is important as they are often a route of entry to university-level OHS qualifications. However, the quality of training in the VET sector generally, and for WHS qualifications continues to be an issue. The Australian Government has undertaken a major review of the VET sector which has resulted in a re-structure of the support and process for developing qualifications and competencies. While these changes appear to be positive there are still some challenges for the work health and safety qualifications. The developments are being monitored through SIA representation on the Business Services Industry Reference Committee.

A review of the VET WHS qualifications has been approved as a project for the Skills Service Organisation for the year 2016-17. A major factor in this review will be the INSHPO Global Framework for OHS Practice which includes a role definition for the OHS Practitioner.

The SIA representative on the IRC is Pam Pryor and any comments that you wish to feedback to the IRC should be though Pam at

Each VET qualification is linked to an ANZSCO code which is used to link the qualification with industry information such as employment availability. It has recently come to our notice that the ANZSCO code allocated to the VET WHS qualification is 312611 (safety inspector). This is an inappropriate code with the result that the industry information collected about related roles is not applicable. We have been in discussion with the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research who allocate the codes and the Australian Bureau of Statistics who control the ANZSCO database and there is no applicable code for the WHS qualifications. We have asked for a new code to be created for OHS Practitioner in the next review of the ANZSCO codes. This will not only enable the WHS qualifications to be linked to the applicable industry information but will clearly recognise the separate role of an OHS Practitioner.

SIA Annual Conference Sydney, 5th to 7th September Disruptive safety 

The conference is shaping up to be a great event. The theme for the conference, Disruptive Safety, builds on last year’s theme which was Safety Differently and we are planning sessions which should create interesting and challenging discussions.

The Dr Eric Wigglesworth Memorial Lecture will be held on the 5th September. This year’s Wigglesworth speaker is Dr David Borys whose topic is Two windows to help clarify the enigma that is workplace health and safety. For those of us who are familiar with David’s work this will be a challenging and thought-provoking presentation. The SIA Education Awards will be presented at this event and to mark the 5-year anniversary of the Accreditation Board there will be a review of the Board’s activities and achievements over the 5 years. Further information is available at

The conference over the 6th and 7th has a great forward looking program. With plenaries sessions on disruptive leadership, future of work and innovation will challenge current thinking in many ways. The Regulators Round Table on OHS Regulation in a disruptive environment will see the CEOs of a number of regulators face the challenging topic.

The conference streams address a wide range of topics with some particularly relevant to OHS education and OHS capability. The stream on OHS professional capability will present the new INSHPO Global Framework for Practice that defines both OHS Practitioner and OHS Professional roles, how the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is using the Framework and the outcomes of the OHS capability in mining project. Closer to home, there will be discussion on how to use the OHS Body of Knowledge to develop a CPD plan in line with the SIA new CPD process.

As a first for the SIA, there is a stream for Young Safety Professionals which the educators may wish to bring to the attention of their students.

Note that for those who travel from interstate to NSW for the conference there is a $100 discount on the registration.

More information at

OHS Body of Knowledge

Work is progressing on the new chapters:

  • Future of Work
  • Process safety hazards (Chemical)
  • Managing process safety
  • Engineered safe design

The chapter on Mitigation – Health impacts in undergoing a major review.

For Updates follow LinkedIn and twitter @OHSBoK

Pam Pryor, Registrar

This document is also available in PDF format.

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