Safety Accreditation In Australia

Safety Accreditation In Australia

Great article from the Safety At Work Blog:

One of the most contentious issues in Australia’s occupational health and safety (OHS) profession at the moment is the move by the Safety Institute of Australia (SIA)to certify the profession. In the February 2015 issue of the Journal of Health Safety and Environment, Warwick Pearse, Laura McCosker and Gunther Paulresearched the SIA’s “professional project” and found it seriously wanting.

The paper “Reflection on the SIA Ltd professional project and the Body of Knowledge” states that the project

“…has the potential to promote a narrow technical view of OHS rather than a wider view which encompasses societal relations of power and politics.”

“The use of the BoK [Body of Knowledge] as a key element in the professional project has the potential to represent OHS as a unified system of knowledge — which it is not.” [link added]

The concept of the “generalist OHS Professional” has been confusing as the SIA has failed to adequately explain the need to differentiate between a professional and a practitioner.  The researchers have determined that

“The “generalist OHS professional” seems to be a relatively new concept; indeed, this term is only used in Australia and originated with the SIA.”

Why would the SIA create a term that is so divisive? By looking at the broader and well-established concept of professionalism, the researchers wrote that:

“In the case of the generalist OHS professional, the development of a monopoly on the right to practise is problematic because there are a large number (perhaps the majority?) of people in OHS job roles who do not have specialist knowledge and do not have a tertiary education in OHS.”

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