Development of the OHS Body of Knowledge

The process of developing and structuring the main content of the first edition of OHS Body of Knowledge was managed by a Technical Panel with representation from Victorian universities teaching OHS and from the Australian Institute of Health & Safety, which is the main professional body for generalist OHS professionals in Australia.

The Panel developed an initial conceptual framework which was then amended in accord with feedback received from OHS tertiary-level educators throughout Australia and the wider OHS profession. Specialist authors were invited to contribute chapters, which were then subjected to peer review and editing.

The development of later chapters has taken a more inclusive approach with the chapter structure often being determined by a topic-specific technical panel, the chapter itself frequently being the result of collaborative writing and the implications for practice being identified through workshops and focus groups.

In 2013-14 Safe Work Australia supported the development of four new chapters: Principles of OHS law, Organisational culture, Risk and decision making, and User centred safe design. Two further chapters resulted from a joint project with the Safety Centre for the Institution of Chemical Engineers: Process hazards (chemical) and Managing process safety.

New chapter topics are continually being identified together with review of existing chapters and developed as resources allow.

Information from board report

Priority topics for new chapters are set by the OHS Body of Knowledge Advisory Panel based on a range of criteria including recognised gaps, changes in practice requiring objective discussion, research and opportunity such as joint projects and sources of funding.

Future development

The OHS Body of Knowledge is developed for OHS professionals. It is important that they have a say on the priorities for future development.

Suggestions on future development are encouraged. OHS professionals, educators, researchers, policy-makers, regulators and others please email any suggestions to

As all OHS Body of Knowledge activity has to be funded the development of new chapters is dependent on available funding.

If any organisations are interested in being involved or supporting the development of new chapters see OHS BoK Funding and Information sheet No 3: Corporate support or contact the Manager OHS Body of Knowledge Development at or +61 457 777 748.