It’s with great pride that I write to you all to let you know that the Institute’s current national manager of the Australian OHS Body of Knowledge (BoK), Pamela Pryor has received an Order of Australia last week for a career of exceptional contribution to the field of health and safety, not only as a health and safety professional and through her research and academic contributions, but at the systemic level in ways which are having a long lasting impact.
The work of the Institute in building the capability of health and safety people over the longer term has been based in recent years around a series of nationally significant projects. Pam has played a significant hand in all of them. In doing so, she has created a legacy of career which has made an extraordinary difference.
Every profession needs a knowledge base. The BoK underpins the knowledge base for the work of professionals, and is used today as a core reference point for Australian University OHS qualifications. Pam has overseen the development of the Body of Knowledge, drawing on a wide range of experts from both academia and the profession to come together and build each chapter, which has resulted in an extraordinary body of work. I personally consider the BoK to be the greatest asset of Australia’s Health and Safety Profession and it is referenced today throughout many countries around the world.
Every profession needs confidence in its educational programs. As the founding registrar for the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board, Pam has been integral to a small team driving this initiative which today accredits nearly all of Australia’s OHS University courses. It is this accreditation process which supports greater consistency and quality from our highly committed university educators. The changes driven by the accreditation process have been significant. The process includes feedback loops which include advice from the profession. Pam is also currently Chairing a review of VET curriculum for the Business Services IRC and is working hard to make changes to a weak VET WHS curriculum.
Every profession needs to clarify the knowledge and skill requirements of work at each level. Four years ago, global heads of health and safety in the mining sector asked the International Safety and Health Professional Organisations (INSHPO) of which the Institute is a part, for a body of work to be used internationally which defines different levels of WHS work, and the knowledge and skill requirements at each level. Pam has been one of the leaders and a co-author of the OHS professional Global capability framework project which was launched last September in Singapore, with organisations from 22 countries adopting the framework.
Most professions have a framework to certify capability and promote their people and of course in WHS, the British, Americans and Canadians have been doing it for decades.
Pam has been one of the architects of our certification program which is now in its third year. It’s not simple to introduce a new set of standards into a pre-existing field and we continue to fine tune the program, which is growing all the time and helping us raise the profile of health and safety people within Australian companies.
Effective professional bodies have ways to influence the standards of the training that their people get and Pam has been working with me on the preparatory work for our training and professional development framework, which allows us to assess and support training which we can have confidence in promoting as good value and good content.
That’s just a part of the story of Pam Pryor. Personally there is nobody in my three years at the Institute that I have argued with more as I have interrogated health and safety ideas and concepts ideas, and there is nobody I have learned more from. This is why I say on behalf of the Board, staff and members of the Institute, congratulations Pam. We have always been immensely proud of you and your achievements, your passion and your service, so it is great to see that you have been more widely acknowledged with this high honour.
Chief Executive Officer