Occupational Health & Safety Courses

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Occupational Health & Safety Courses overview

Occupational health and safety (OHS) refers to the many practices and disciplines encompassing workplace safety. It’s a field designed to both protect and respect workers by preventing bodily and mental harm. Postgraduate study in the field sees students learning about safety technology, accident prevention and risk management.

The field arose from the grim infancy of industrialisation, where child labour and gruelling work hours were expected of poorly paid labourers. The poor health of children working in 19th century cotton factories caused UK legislators to enact the Factory Acts of 1833 and 1844, which limited working hours for children and women respectively. From there, the field grew to encompass all manner of mandatory safety requirements, including protective equipment and hazard prevention practices.

Nowadays the field is just as essential, with many areas of the world still suffering from poor workplace health and safety. Professionals in this field work to perfect these practices for the benefit of workers worldwide.

Is occupational health and safety for me?

This field is perfect for those with a mind for problem solving and an interest in protecting lives. There’s always more to be done, but it takes creativity coupled with sound theoretical knowledge to devise effective safety solutions. If you’re a health and safety professional aspiring to higher levels of responsibility and career advancement, postgraduate study is for you.

Study pathway

Higher level OHS can be taken up to master level. Each course offers options for varying levels of time commitment.

Graduate certificates provide entry-level knowledge in injury management, compensation, ergonomics and the economics of health and safety. These allow people with either an interest in running their business to a higher standard or aspiring dedicated health and safety professionals to gain a basic understanding. Institutions like Curtin University offer these courses, taking between six months and a year to complete.

Graduate diplomas like those from Queensland University of Technology provide more advanced knowledge of OHS over the course of a year. Students can expect units in epidemiology, toxicology and occupational hygiene in addition to the courses one would find throughout the certificate. Part time study is available for these programs, allowing students to work while undergoing the program over the course of two years.

Master degrees provide comprehensive knowledge of the field, making them well suited to those aspiring to dedicated OHS careers in either research or practice. Institutions like Monash University offer this course with units in chemical, biological, ergonomic and physical hazards. Students must choose to either focus on research or coursework, with each pathway dictating a number of compulsory units. It’s therefore advisable to have a clear career path in mind for these degrees.

Employment options

OHS officer

Professionals in this position minimise risk through the elimination and prevention of hazardous behaviours. This generally entails implementing and enforcing safety procedures and regulations, intervening when unsafe conduct is taking place and keeping incident records. Many workplaces have need of OHS officers, with companies like Zenergy dedicated to recruiting them.

OHS manager

OHS managers are responsible for providing a vision for how health and safety practices ought to look. They evaluate current practices and consider new ones for the constant betterment of a company, requiring constant creativity and industry knowledge. Companies like Metcash, energy companies, steel plants and more all require OHS managers to prevent injuries and run smoothly.

Workplace rehabilitation officer

It is unfortunate when OHS professionals have to admit injury has occurred, but this is when workplace rehabilitation officers are needed. These are responsible for helping injured workers return in a timely manner, addressing psychological, physical, social and environmental concerns. The Australian government legislates the responsibilities and importance of each level of seniority for this area, making it a very safe field to enter.

Advice for Occupational Health & Safety Courses

A worker fell down on a construction site with a colleague attending.
Study advice

Occupational health and safety provides working professionals with peace of mind. With a postgraduate qualification in the field, you can make the field even stronger.


Occupational Health & Safety Courses Videos


Edith Cowan University (ECU)

Discover courses, get advice from staff, watch demos and enjoy music, food and games.

Edith Cowan University (ECU)

Discover courses, get advice from staff, watch demos and enjoy music, food and games.