What is the OHS Body of Knowledge?
The OHS Body of Knowledge is the collective knowledge that should be shared by Australian generalist OHS professionals to provide a sound basis for understanding the causation and control of work related fatality, injury, disease and ill health (FIDI). This knowledge can be described in terms of its key concepts and language, its core theories and related empirical evidence, and the application of these to facilitate a safe and healthy workplace.
Importantly, the OHS Body of Knowledge is neither a textbook nor a curriculum; rather it describes the key concepts, core theories and related evidence that should be shared by Australian generalist OHS professionals. This knowledge will be gained through a combination of education and experience.
The application of the OHS Body of Knowledge will be facilitated by the learning outcomes currently being developed to describe the core activities that a new graduate generalist OHS professional should be able to do as an outcome of engaging with the Body of Knowledge.
A defined body of knowledge is required as a basis for professional certification and for accreditation of education programs giving entry to a profession. The lack of such a body of knowledge for OHS professionals was identified in reviews of OHS legislation and OHS education in Australia. After a 2009 scoping study, WorkSafe Victoria provided funding to support a national project to develop and implement a core body of knowledge for generalist OHS professionals in Australia.
The OHS Body of Knowledge provides a basis for accreditation of OHS professional education programs and certification of individual OHS professionals. It provides guidance for OHS educators in course development, and for OHS professionals and professional bodies in developing continuing professional development activities. Also, OHS regulators, employers and recruiters may find it useful for benchmarking OHS professional practice.
The OHS Body of Knowledge for Generalist OHS Professionals (OHS BoK) was developed in response to an identified need to define the collective knowledge that should be shared by Australian Generalist OHS Professionals as a basis for understanding the causation and control of work-related fatality, injury, disease and ill-health. The OHS BoK is an online publication by the Safety Institute of Australia which is freely available to OHS professionals and practitioners, OHS educators, OHS students and anybody interested in OHS. It is the basis for accreditation of OHS education and certification of those who practice OHS as well as informing the continuing professional development of professionals and practitioners.