The benchmark set for OHS education
In 2009-10, 216 Australians died from an injury sustained at work and 640 000 Australians reported a work-related illness or injury. In the same year 303 000 Australian workers were compensated for a work-related injury or illness. It is estimated that over 2000 Australians die from a work-related illness each year. In 2012 Safe Work Australia estimated that the total cost of workplace injury and illness to the Australian economy for the 2008-9 financial year was $60.6 billion. This represented 4.8 per cent of the Australian Gross Domestic Product.
While Australian workers are experiencing this level of injury and illness and business is suffering the financial impost there are no education requirements for those providing OHS advice to workplaces nor are there any regulated standards to give business confidence in the competency of those they employ to give OHS advice.
As part of a major shift in the OHS profession the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board has been established under the auspices of the Safety Institute of Australia. This Board has the authority to accredit OHS professional education programs provided by universities thus giving employers confidence in the qualifications of those they employ and providing guidance to students in selecting a program of study.
Pam Pryor, Registrar of the Board, said "The Board's role is to set standards and to recognise universities who meet those standards in educating entry-level OHS professionals equipped to operate effectively in the work environment. The Board acknowledges that each institution will bring its own orientation and approach to the task, but ultimately the profession and industry must be assured that all graduates have achieved an agreed set of learning outcomes."
"The Board has quite deliberately sought to bring its accreditation standards and processes into line with the new higher education environment" said Professor Bruce King, educational advisor to the Board. "The emphasis on agreed learning outcomes as a measure of quality by the new Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency is the foundation from which we have worked making the OHS profession one of the first to embrace not only the Australian Qualification Framework but the new provider standards in their accreditation processes."
Go to www.ohseducationaccreditation.org.au
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For media enquiries:
Pam Pryor, Registrar, Tel: 0411 193 370
Professor Bruce King, Education advisor and member of the Accreditation Board,
Tel: 0427 269 261, Bruce.email@example.com