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The OH&S Body of Knowledge

Recognising the OHS Body of Knowledge

OHS Body of Knowledge

The OHS body of knowledge is the cumulative knowledge of Australian generalist OHS experts that should be shared in order to create a solid foundation for understanding the etiology and control of work-related fatality, injury, disease, and ill-health (FIDI). This knowledge can be characterised in terms of key concepts and language, basic theories, and relevant scientific findings, as well as its application to ensure a safe and healthy workplace.

In defining the Body of Knowledge it is recognised that knowledge is not static. Rather, it is constantly reinterpreted and growing as a result of people interacting with and applying information, as well as undertaking research to expand knowledge. Knowledge and its application are also aided by experience. As a result, no education program can apply the whole core Body of Knowledge for the generalist OHS professional.

A defined body of knowledge is a necessary precondition for any profession. It is also essential as a foundation for official certification and accreditation of programs that lead to professional certification.

OHS practices rely on a wide range of disciplines, and the lack of a disciplinary boundary has hampered the profession’s recognition. The OHS Body of Knowledge establishes a conceptual framework for knowledge and defines its scope in order to inform professional industries.

Check out the Core Body of Knowledge for the Generalist OHS Professional here.

What are the Benefits of Using OHS

People who work in organisations can face risks to their safety and health as a result of their jobs. The socio-political environment has an impact on organisations. Organisations can be thought of as a systems that has dangers that must be managed to reduce risk. This can be accomplished by understanding causality models for safety and health, which will lead to an improvement in worker safety and health. The OHS professional uses professional practise to engage the organisation to work towards this goal. 

This can be Represented as:

  • Inform OHS education, but not prescribe a curriculum 
  • Provide a basis for course accreditation
  • Provide a basis for professional certification
  • Inform continuing professional development (CPD) for current professionals
  • Provide a standard for OHS practice to inform employers, recruiters and regulators.
Gary Patrick, Director of Mango (QHSE software solutions) Addresses the Value of the OHS Body of Knowledge

‘Updated periodically, the OHS Body of Knowledge is “the collective knowledge that should be shared by generalist OHS professionals to provide a sound basis for understanding the causation and control of work-related fatality, injury, disease, and ill health.” 

“Over the years I have found it to be an excellent and CREDIBLE resource for OHS folk who are serious about understanding workplace safety and how to improve the performance of their organisation”.

The OHS Body of Knowledge follows a conceptual approach that allows it to be used in a variety of contexts and frameworks. Learning outcomes have been defined for each technical chapter in the Body of Knowledge to optimise its educational effectiveness. The Tertiary Education and Quality Standards Agency’s (TEQSA) outcomes-based quality assurance model is reflected in these learning outcomes and the Australian Qualification Framework’s outcome descriptors (AQF).

You can view and download the OHS Body Of Knowledge chapters here: 

In Recent news, Edith Cowan University’s Bachelor of Health Science major in OEHS (Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety) has been certified by the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board (AOHSEAB). Read the full article here.

Feel free to get in touch with QSM Group if you have any questions about occupational health and safety management within your organisation.


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