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Development of Global Capability Framework for OHS Practice

International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organisations (INSHPO)

INSHPO provides an international forum for OHS professional bodies to engage and share evidenced-based practices and be a global voice for advancing the OHS profession. INSHPO has undertaken a series of major activities to define an international professional framework for the OHS professional. The core of these projects is the Global OHS Capability Framework.

The Global OHS Capability Framework:

Development of the Framework

The Capability Framework was developed over a 5-year period by a working party comprising Emeritus Professor Andrew Hale of the UK, Pam Pryor, Registrar of the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board and Dennis Hudson of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and the INSHPO Secretariat. INSHPO members bodies provided input and acted as a review board.

The project was initiated in 2011 at a workshop held in association with the XIX Global conference on Health and Safety at Work held in Istanbul. This workshop explored the global implications of the Australian OHS Body of Knowledge and the European EUSafe program and compared the professional certification/membership requirements across the INSHPO member countries.

Following the Istanbul meeting the INSHPO working party extended the results of the research by Professor Andrew Hale and others on the role and tasks of OHS professionals. This research involved surveys in 7 European countries, the UK, Australia, Singapore and the US. INSHPO sponsored a survey project to further interrogate the survey data. The results of this research have been compiled in a webinar. This webinar can be accessed at

The second phase of the project carried out by Professor Hale examined certification and other competency related documentation from Europe including the UK, Canada, US, Australia, the Russian Federation and the Netherlands. The objective of this examination was to determine whether the documents could be used to identify commonalities in tasks and competencies (learning outcomes). While the documents had different underpinning assumptions, purposes and structures some high-level comparisons could be made for tasks but a comparison at the learning outcome level was more fruitful.

The documentation comparison provided the basis for the third stage of the project: draft task statements. This draft was provided to a number of Australian OHS professionals for comment. Following further international consultation, the framework was expanded to include knowledge and skill statements and position profiles. From an Australian perspective, the knowledge statements are informed by the OHS Body of Knowledge and the position profiles are based on the learning outcome descriptors in the Australian Qualification Framework.

The Framework was further enhanced and tested at a workshop as part of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineers (CSSE) (2013, Montreal), the XX Global Framework for Health and Safety at Work (Frankfurt, 2014) and WoSNet (Glasgow, 2014).

Following 4 years of development and consultation the OHS Professional Capability Framework – A Global Framework for Practice for the professional level was launched at the Fluoro Conference presented by IFAP in Perth in October 2015. Download SIA media release on the launch of the Global Framework

Work continued through 2016 on a second version of the Framework to address both OHS Practitioner and Professional roles. The Framework was tested and applied in an industry context in a joint project with the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM). The outcome of this project was an OHS capability framework for the mining industry which included position descriptions and statements for activities, knowledge and skills for the practitioner and professional categories, a self-assessment tool and a guide to career pathways.

View a presentation on the development of the Global Framework delivered at the 2016 CSSE Conference