The Health and Safety Profession

Practice Framework 

Every profession needs a clearly defined framework for practice, and the health and safety sector has lagged in this area. The AIHS supports the adoption of the Global Capability Framework for OHS practice, developed by the International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organizations (INSHPO).

Position Statement: The Health and Safety Profession Global Capability Framework

"The health and safety profession is an increasingly global one, with many professionals working across many countries. This globalization requires recognition of professional standards and qualifications that can only be achieved through a coordinated response by professional bodies. The AIHS supports the Global Capability Framework developed by the International Safety and Health Professional Organisations (INSHPO) and articulates the profession’s Certification Program against this framework."

The OHS/WHS knowledge base:

All developing professions need a valid body of knowledge based on evidence. Education and Continuing Professional Development based on that knowledge is critically important for a growing profession. The AIHS strongly supports the ongoing development and maintenance of the OHS Body of Knowledge, and evidence-based practice, as well as fostering discussion and research on new ideas and emerging concepts. 

Position Statement: The Occupational Health and Safety Body of Knowledge (BOK)

"One of the hallmarks of a mature profession is the establishment of an evidence base for the work of that profession, upon which to build further evidence. The health and safety profession has a body of knowledge (OHS BoK) on workplace health and safety based on sound research and practice, and the Institute is committed to maintaining and further developing this Body of Knowledge as well as providing it as an open source for the use of the profession and wider community."

Position Statement:  Research across the Health and Safety Profession

"Research is the search for and creation of evidence in a structured and planned manner, and is critical to the development of the practices of the health and safety profession. The AIHS has an agenda to promote relevant research which extends the profession’s body of knowledge, as well as interpreting and disseminating that evidence to influence practice."

Educating the Profession

The AIHS actively supports the ongoing development of education for people who work at all levels within the field, and takes an active role in seeking to improve the quality and content of that education and training.

Position Statement: Higher Education

"Providers of occupational health and safety professional education provided through the Higher Education sector should demonstrate the quality of their programs by meeting the health and safety and educational criteria as set by the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board (AOHSEAB)."

Position Statement: Qualifications and competencies (Vocational Education Training sector)

"The ongoing oversight of VET sector Workplace Health and Safety qualifications and competencies should be conducted by a unique Workplace Health and Safety Industry Reference Committee (IRC)."
"Current WHS Diploma and Advanced Diploma qualifications require changes in specification of the qualifications and competencies and more effective regulation of delivery standards and outcomes, to reflect current health and safety practice and meet industry needs."

Position Statement: Educational Standards

"People providing professional OHS advice should have appropriate capabilities. As a guide to those entering the profession today, people providing advice at the strategic, senior management level who may be required to deal with novel and complex situations should have underpinning OHS education equivalent to Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) level 7 or above. People providing technical advice and support for implementation of policy and strategy, who work mainly with middle management, supervisors and shop floor should have OHS education equivalent to AQF 5 or 6."

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

A Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program for the Health and Safety WHS Profession is critical to the ongoing development and capability of people who work at all levels of health and safety within all industries.

Position Statement: Health and Safety Profession CPD Program    

"As part of ensuring community and industry confidence in the quality and currency of health and safety advice, the Australian Institute of Health and Safety is committed to ensuring that (a) its certified members undertake targeted CPD; and (b) that the whole profession has access to CPD which is properly articulated against the capability requirements of both practitioners and professionals, which meets set standards, and which is evaluated for its ongoing effectiveness."

Health and Safety Practices

As a constantly evolving profession, there are a range of schools of thought and emerging practices. The Institute has an important role in promoting both research and critical discussion of these theories, based on evidence.

Position Statement: The Changing Nature of work  

"An understanding of work, and all its parameters and perspectives is important for health and safety Professionals to enable them to integrate their advice into the management and organisation of work. 
However, the workplace and what constitutes a workplace, the technology associated with work and the organisation of work are all changing at a rapid pace as are the methods of sharing information and engaging. These changes impact on the nature of relationships in the work environment and the business models. Such changes will continue to occur at a rapid rate as they enable businesses to innovate. Health and safety Professionals must understand the dynamics of the change and how their role needs to change in tune with the changes to work."

Position Statement: Health and Safety in sustainable business practice

The AIHS recognises the importance of benchmarking and measuring change in health and safety inputs, outputs, and outcomes. The AIHS advocates the development and use of a range of performance indicators that reinforce the supportive role of health and safety in business success and sustainability.

Position Statement: Diversity within the profession

"The Health and Safety profession is no different from other professions that have developed from a male-dominated engineering and science background. The AIHS recognizes and supports diversity in age, gender, ethnicity and ideas, as important and positive influences on the future of the profession."