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The OHS Professional

Capability Framework
A Global Framework for Practice
Role, Knowledge and Skills

International Network of Safety and

Health Practitioner Organisations
October 2015
4 1.1 INSHPO
4 1.2 Definition of “Capability”
5 Figure 1: A Global Framework for Practice
5 1.3 Clarifying OHS roles
OHS Professionals
OHS Technicians
10 3.1 The OHS profession and the OHS Professional
10 3.2 Employment context
11 3.3 Scope of practice in the context of other professionals and specialists
24 6. SKILLS
27 APPENDIX 1: Hazard types managed by the OHS Professional and required underlying science
30 APPENDIX 2: Hazard types managed by the OHS Professional and required underlying science
Citation of this document:
Pryor, P., Hale, A., Hudson, D., (2015). The OHS Professional: A framework for practice – Role, knowledge and
skills. International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organisations (INSHPO). Park Ridge, IL, USA.

While the term “Occupational Health and Safety” or “OHS” is used in this
document, it should be considered interchangeable with “Occupational
Safety and Health” (OSH) or “Work Health and Safety” (WHS).

The development of the Occupational Health and • Philippe Lai Choo, IOSHM (Mauritius)
Safety (OHS) Capability Framework was initiated • Phil Lovelock, SIA (Australia)
by the Board of Directors of the International Net- • Dan Lyons, BCRSP (Canada)
work of Safety and Health Practitioner Organisa- • Vincent McNeilly, IOSH (United Kingdom)
tions (INSHPO). With the editorial support of • Stuart Naylor, NEBOSH (United Kingdom)
Laura Clements at the American Society of Safety • Terrie Norris, ASSE (USA)
Engineers and research support from Bradley • Nikolay Novikov, NACOT (Russia)
Turner, the Framework was developed by a small • Eldeen Pozniak, CSSE (Canada)
working party consisting of: • Martin Ralph, IFAP (Australia)
• Seet Choh San, SISO (Singapore)
• Pam Pryor, Registrar of the Australian OHS • Treasa Turnbeaugh, BCSP (USA)
Education Accreditation Board (AOHSAB) • Barry Wilkes, NEBOSH (United Kingdom)
• Andrew Hale, Professor Emeritus, Delft Univer- • Nicola Wright, BCRSP (Canada)
sity of Technology, Netherlands and Chairman of
HASTAM in UK The working party collected and reviewed the
• Dennis Hudson, Director of Professional Affairs, documentation from national professional as-
American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) sociations and certification bodies, including
that already analysed by ENSHPO in the EUSafe
The INSHPO Board of Directors supported the project, to define the role, functions and compe-
development of the Framework by providing tencies of occupational health and safety practitio-
documentation, access to national experts and ners and professionals. Given the great diversity
critical reviews of the emerging results. They also of approaches across countries, the working party
provided review of the Framework by seeking developed a new overarching structure designed to
comments from their respective member organ- encompass all approaches.
isations. Thanks are due to the following past and
present Board members and supporters: The draft framework document was subject to
critical review, both through INSHPO’s own chan-
• Bae Gye-Wan, KOSHA (South Korea) nels and at international conferences and presenta-
• Giancarlo Bianchi, AIAS (Italy) tions, including the XX World Congress on Safety
• Andrew Cooper, CSSE (Canada) and Health at Work 2014 in Frankfurt and the
• Ron Durdle, BCRSP (Canada) the 7th international conference of the Working
• Wayne Glover, CSSE (Canada) on Safety Network (wosnet2014) in Scotland. The
• Carl Heinlein, BCSP (USA) final version has been endorsed by the INSHPO
• Paul Jarvie, NZISM (New Zealand) Board of Directors.
• Kim Dong-Chan, KOSHA (South Korea)

1. Introduction
1.1 INSHPO OHS Professional must go beyond competence to
The International Network of Safety and Health
Practitioner Organisations (INSHPO) is the global “Competence” has been defined as the ability to
voice for the occupational health and safety (OHS) transfer and apply knowledge and skills to new
profession. INSHPO provides an international situations and environments, consistently applying
forum for engagement on OHS-related matters knowledge and skills to a standard of performance
and for advancing the OHS profession through required in the workplace.2 In comparison, “capa-
the exchange of evidence-based practices and the bility” is:
development of a harmonized framework for the
profession. Its member organisations include OHS The applied theoretical knowledge that
professional bodies from the United States, Can- underpins practice in occupations and
ada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, professions and also the industry specific
Australia, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, knowledge and skills that transcend par-
Singapore and Korea. ticular workplaces and the tacit knowledge
of the workplace.3
INSHPO has recognized the need for a global frame-
work for practice of OHS Professionals. In addition The difference between competency and capability
to this project, which defines the roles, knowledge is that competency is about delivering the pres-
and skills for both vocationally and university-edu- ent based on the past, while capability is about
cated (or other higher education) OHS personnel, imagining and being able to realize the future.4
related projects undertaken by INSHPO include: Competency is a necessary part of capability5 but
capability goes much further in that it is about
• a model code of conduct for OHS professionals confidence and adaptability; the development and
and practitioners effective use of the knowledge and skills in com-
• guidelines for: plex and changing circumstances, including those
• accreditation of OHS education that may not have been previously experienced.
• certification of individuals
• a literature review providing the basis for Capable people have the knowledge, skills, self-
formulating a value statement for the OHS esteem and values such that they have confidence
Professional.1 in their ability to:

2 Naidu, R., Stanwick, J., & Fraser, K. (2013). Glossary of VET.

1.2 Definition of “Capability” Adelaide: NCVER.
While many may see it to be more normative 3 Wheelahan, L., & Moodie, G. (2011). Rethinking skills in
Vocational Education and Training [Electronic Version], from
to use “competency” to describe the nature of a
professional framework, this document adopts a 4 Stephenson, quoted in Lewis, J. (2009). Introducing the
different approach in using the term “capability.” ACEL leadership capability framework. Curriculum and Lead-
In developing this framework INSHPO consid- ership Journal, 7(16).
5 Hase, G., & Davis, L. (1999). From competence to capability:
ered that while it is vital for an OHS Professional the implications for human resource development and manage-
to be competent, the effective and influential ment. Paper presented at the Millennial challenges in manage-
ment, education, cybertechnology and leadership: Association
1 See for details. of International Management, 17th Annual Conference San

• take effective and appropriate action 1.3 Clarifying OHS roles
• explain what they are about
• live and work effectively with others and OHS is an emerging profession that is often not
• continue to learn from their experience well defined, locally or globally. The scope and
nature of the role, education requirements, and
as individuals and in association with others in a regulatory context vary across and even within
diverse and changing society.6 countries. Perceptions of the role, including
recognition by employers and the community,
Thus, while competence is essential for OHS prac- also vary both across and within countries. Only
tice, the concept of capability provides a further a few countries have a regulated requirement for
dimension that expands our understanding of practice, with the result that unqualified people
the required knowledge and skills and how these are practicing in the area—which not only affects
should be applied a part of positioning the OHS the quality of OHS advice, but creates a negative
profession and OHS Professionals for the future. perception of the subject, the role and the profes-
sion. The lack of clarity around the OHS role has
6 Stephenson, J. (1992). Capability and quality in Higher Edu- also negatively affected the perceived value of the
cation In J. Stephenson & S. Weil (Eds.), Quality in Learning
Kogan Page. OHS professional role in organisations.

Figure 1: A Global Framework for Practice

The OHS role originated in many organisations as The two roles are defined in generic terms in the
a technical compliance officer, educated via a voca- next two sections.
tional track and mainly engaged at lower levels in
the organisation, providing technical advice focused While this framework provides the roles and
on compliance, personal protective equipment and tasks, knowledge and skill requirements and core
a reactive response. Over the last half century it has hazards of the OHS Professional, greater detail on
diverged into two paths, one path vocational and the OHS Practitioner role is provided in The OHS
the other a more managerial/professional role that Practitioner Competency Framework: A Framework
influences, engages and coaches all levels of the for Practice.
organisation, including senior management.

In contrast to historical roles, OHS professionals are

OHS Professionals
OHS Professionals design an organisation’s OHS
increasingly being recognized as strategic partners
management strategy within the wider context of
in organisational change who facilitate the integra-
business processes and external regulatory, market
tion of OHS into the overall function of the organ-
and societal influences. Influential with senior
isation. OHS education is also changing, as OHS
management, they are advisers and consultants
professionals and the organisations that employ
involved in problem solving and organisational
them are increasingly demanding university-level
review/change. Mediated by experience, analysis of
professional qualifications that meet professional
evidence and critical thought, their advice is based
accreditation requirements. OHS professional bod-
on conceptual and technical knowledge of design
ies are reviewing their requirements for member-
and operations, enabling them to extend their
ship recognition and a number of countries are
understanding and control to novel, unknown and
undertaking high-level projects to advance profes-
complex risks and their controls. OHS Profession-
als understand how to access, use, critically evalu-
ate and develop the evidence base and they value
While there may be a range of OHS roles in the
professional collaboration. They are likely to work
workplace, INSHPO has recognized the need to for-
solo or give direction to others. In the majority of
mally define the OHS role in two clear categories:
cases they gain their OHS education through the
higher education sector.
• the OHS Practitioner, who is vocationally-
educated, and
• the OHS Professional, who is university- OHS Practitioners
educated (or has attained a similar level of OHS Practitioners implement strategies and
higher education). actions usually designed by an OHS Professional.
They support a safe working environment by main-
taining OHS administrative processes, conducting
7 See for example the Australian OHS Body of Knowledge proj- basic training and using a range of state-of-the-art
ect and the IOSH Competency Framework.

tools, processes and standard practice solutions
to manage OHS risks. Particularly focused on
evaluating routine and well-known processes
and work, OHS Practitioners oversee and drive
monitoring and compliance in relation to tech-
nical and behavioural risk controls. They are
likely to have a focus on the workplace and the
organisation’s primary processes and commu-
nicate predominantly at middle management,
supervisor and shop-floor levels. They usually
work under direct or indirect supervision or
mentorship and have positions focused on
known contexts within established parameters.
Within those parameters they have substantial
personal responsibility for the planning and
quality of their own work. They usually gain
their OHS education through the vocational or
technical education sector. The OHS role originated in many
organisations as a technical compliance
Role Profiles
INSHPO recognises that there are gradations officer, educated via a vocational track
within both the OHS Practitioner and OHS
Professional categories and have developed role and mainly engaged at lower levels in
profiles at 3 levels within each of the categories.
Table 1 gives the profile details for the core level
the organisation, providing technical
for the OHS Practitioner and for the OHS Pro- advice focused on compliance, personal
fessional with the full profiles for each category
provided in Appendix 1. protective equipment and a reactive
Individuals on the OHS Professional and OSH response. Over the last half century it
Practitioner paths are increasingly educated
in either the vocational/technical track or the
has diverged into two paths, one path
higher education/professional track, respec- vocational the other a more managerial/
tively. Except for those on the Practitioner path
willing to acquire a university-level qualification professional role that is influencing,
or equivalent to bridge the gap between the two
roles, there is no obvious career progression engaging and coaching all levels of
between the two.
the organisation, including senior

Table 1: Core position profiles for OHS Practitioner and Professional Roles 8
Vocationally-Educated OHS Practitioner Profile Higher Education/University-Educated OHS Professional Profile
Position details
Typical titles OHS advisor, practitioner, officer, coordinator, techni- OHS director, vice-president, manager, professional, consultant, specialist
Key purpose of To contribute to the maintenance of a safe work envi- To initiate, develop and maintain a safe and healthy work environment
role ronment by managing OHS administrative processes, by identifying organisational OHS staffing and training needs; apply-
conducting training and effectively using a range of OHS ing specialist skills and knowledge of the OHS evidence base to develop,
tools and processes to implement OHS programs and implement and evaluate OHS strategy and programs across an organisa-
drive compliance. tion or division.
Typical In larger organisations: to an OHS professional. In small In larger organisations: directly to the board of directors, or indirectly via
reporting or medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”): may report to a board member (i.e., managing director, CEO, operations director). In
manager/CEO with advice from contracted consultant. SMEs: managing director/CEO, operations manager, human resources
Professional parameters
Autonomy Works under defined responsibility in known or chang- Makes high-level independent judgments; plans, implements and moni-
ing contexts and within broad but established param- tors substantial projects.
Works under general direction with personal responsi-
bility for own outputs within broad parameters; deter-
mines when issues should be escalated to a higher level.
Influence Interacts with and influences operational, supervisory Develops relationships with senior management, OHS professionals and
and middle management staff and consultative groups practitioners to create/influence OHS-related policy, objectives and strat-
across a designated area. May make decisions with the egy. May manage an OHS group. Liaises with industry leaders and OHS
potential to affect the work of others. regulatory agencies.
Complexity Performs a range of work that is sometimes complex and Creatively performs a range of highly complex OHS activities and leads
non-routine in a range of environments. the formulation and implementation of OHS strategy.
Business and Demonstrates an understanding of the wider implica- Understands and influences the wider organisational/business environ-
organisational tions of OHS strategies and activities for other functions ment and its impact on OHS management.
skills and areas of the organisation.
Knowledge and skills
Knowledge Applies cognitive and communication skills to identify, Demonstrates understanding of advanced theoretical OHS concepts
analyse, synthesise and act on information from a range and technical knowledge within a systematic and coherent OHS Body of
of workplace sources. Knowledge.
Analysis and Applies cognitive and communication skills to identify, Applies cognitive and technical skills to: access, analyse and evaluate
evaluation of analyse, synthesise and act on information from a range information; think critically and generate and evaluate complex ideas
information of workplace sources. inform OHS practice.
Problem Applies cognitive and technical skills to analyse, plan Applies critical thinking, information gathering, communication skills
Solving and evaluate approaches to sometimes unpredictable and judgment to identify and analyse complex OHS problems to generate
problems in known environments. practical evidence-informed solutions taking into account legislation,
industry standards and the organisational environment.
Transmission Uses communications skills to transfer knowledge and Interprets and tailors information to communicate knowledge and ideas
of knowledge skills to others. to workplace and professional audiences using appropriate written, oral
skills and ideas and non-verbal communication strategies and formats.
Qualification AQF9 5/EQF10 4 AQF 7,8/EQF 6
Example Diploma in OHS Bachelor, Graduate Diploma in OHS

8 This table was developed with reference to The Australian Qualification Framework, Ed 2. (2013).; The European Qualification Framework
ploteus/en/content/descriptors-page; Skills Framework for the Information Age. 5th Ed, (2011). SFIA Foundation.
en.r4.pdf; OHS Professional Capabilities. (2012). Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board.
9 Australian Qualifications Framework
10 European Qualifications Framework

I NSHPO has developed this framework to
facilitate a shared understanding of the role of
the OHS Professional as a key advisor, strategist
the OHS Professional at a generic level that allows
for variations in national regulations, histories and
cultures as they pertain to OHS practice.
and leader in fully integrating the management of
OHS risk into a sustainable business practice. The This document is intended for six target audiences:
framework promotes a high standard of capabil-
ity among OHS Professionals and in turn informs • OHS professional associations: to inform their
employers and regulators as to the capabilities of certification and other assessment processes.
OHS Professionals. The sections on knowledge • OHS Professionals: to act as a reference for
and skills provide benchmarks for education and their professional practice, to aid the develop-
training bodies and OHS professional associations ment of continuing professional development
in their development of the detail of certification plans and to assist in promoting the OHS
schemes, educational programs and continu- Professional role in relation to that of the OHS
ing professional development. It is recognized Practitioner.
that there will be differences in terminology and • OHS educators: to use while developing and
emphasis across different countries depending reviewing OHS education programs.
on history, legal and regulatory frameworks and • Employers and recruiters: to assist in develop-
industry mix. This framework gives generic guid- ing position descriptions for OHS roles and in
ance which will need to be adapted and developed recruiting OHS personnel.
in more detail by each country to account for such • OHS regulators: to aid in the understanding of
differences. the OHS Professional role, clarify the require-
ments for certification/registration/licensing of
The framework was developed by comparing OHS Professionals and to inform the profes-
documents provided by OHS professional bodies sional development of inspectors.
and OHS certification bodies for European Union • The community: to assist in creating a better
countries (particularly the United Kingdom, the understanding of the scope of the OHS Profes-
Netherlands and those included in the EUSafe sional role.
project), the United States, Canada, Australia,
Singapore and the Russian Federation. Tremen- The Capability Framework has four components:
dous variation in these documents’ structures
and underlying organising principles lent itself • Context
to the creation of a new structure that draws on • Role of the OHS Professional
the strengths of each country. This structure uses • Knowledge
“dimensions” and “domains” to describe the role of • Skills

3.1 The OHS profession and standing of a core range of hazards and hazard
controls. As necessary, the OHS Professional should
the OHS Professional also liaise with and enlist the assistance of OHS spe-
The OHS profession comprises a number of disci- cialists with deeper knowledge bases which may not
plines, including occupational health and safety, oc- be core to the OHS Professional, but are important
cupational/industrial hygiene and ergonomics. The in the overall risk picture. These specialists include,
relationship of the OHS Professional to the OHS among others, ergonomists, occupational/industrial
profession is analogous to that of the general prac- hygienists, organisational/occupational psycholo-
titioner in the medical profession. Like a general gists, occupational health professionals and profes-
practitioner, the OHS Professional is a generalist in sionals from allied professions such as engineers, fire
the practice of OHS, liaising with and referring as protection engineers/specialists and physiothera-
appropriate to supporting professions. pists. OHS Professionals trained initially as general-
ists may themselves develop these or other deeper
The OHS Professional role requires an under- specialisations relevant to their industry or type of
standing of a unique multidisciplinary Body of employment as part of their career development.
Knowledge concerning risk and the elimination
or reduction of fatalities, injuries, occupational The OHS Professional may also collaborate with
diseases, ill health, property damage and the as- experts from disciplines such as sustainability, en-
sociated social and financial losses. Typically, the vironmental protection, product safety, emergency
OHS Professional provides broad-based advice, response, security, rehabilitation and mental health,
support and analysis to organisations regarding law and insurance. The OHS Professional should
risk assessment and controls and their manage- have sufficient understanding of each of these fields
ment processes. The role also supports health and to identify the potential need for involvement with
wellness as it relates to the work environment. professionals in these and other disciplines.

The capable OHS Professional has generic knowl-

edge appropriate to risk in all activities and em- 3.2 Employment context
ployment, backed up by deeper knowledge of his
OHS Professionals may be engaged as internal
or her specific industry, including its characteristic
employees in medium to large or global organisa-
hazards and standard risk prevention, manage-
tions, particularly in complex and major hazard
ment and mitigation processes.
technologies, or as external consultants advising
small to global organisations. They may work
OHS Professionals support organisations by:
solo, as part of a team, or give direction to others.
OHS Professionals will engage with any level of
• Developing a comprehensive risk profile for
the organisation from shop floor to board room
the organisation’s activities
as well as other functions and professionals. They
• Designing and supporting the implementation
should report at a high level in the organisation,
of OHS strategies to control those risks
for example to the managing director, CEO, higher
• Influencing managers and decision makers
level OHS or risk director, operations director, or
• Problem solving and providing advice based
human resources director. They may have a team
on conceptual and technical knowledge medi-
of OHS personnel reporting to them.
ated by experience, analysis of evidence and
critical thought and an understanding of how
This document is written at a generic level which al-
to use and access the evidence base.
lows for variation according to country, industry and
organisation-specific application.
The OHS Professional possesses a broad under-

3.3 Scope of practice in the • Security: the core OHS Professional role is
limited to managing and resolving conflicts
context of other professionals and between safety and security measures.
specialists Appendix 1 sets out a range of hazards of which
the OHS Professional may be expected to have
The focus of the activity of the OHS Professional’s
some knowledge. It is likely that there will be con-
activity focus is providing advice in and support for
siderable variation in the range of hazards forming
the prevention and management of work-related
the core of the OHS Professional’s knowledge base
fatality, injury, disease and ill health, property dam-
and practice depending on the industry within
age and associated social and financial losses. Work
which they work, their professional interests
health and the promotion of physical and mental
and the country or countries within which they
wellness are increasingly important areas for the
practice. Individual position descriptions may also
OHS Professional. In some countries and in some
note other areas of safety that share approaches,
organisations the OHS role also encompasses pre-
knowledge and skill bases and management and
vention and management of environmental hazards
regulatory principles with OHS, such as transpor-
and sustainability.
tation safety, product safety, patient safety, public
safety, home and leisure safety and sport safety.
While many OHS Professional position descrip-
These are not covered in this document.
tions may include one or more of the following
areas of responsibility, this document does not
consider them to be core functions and hence does
The OHS Professional role
not address them in detail: requires an understanding of a
• Environment: the core OHS Professional role
is limited to environmental aspects and im- unique multidisciplinary Body of
pacts associated with work activities.
• Emergency response management: the core Knowledge concerning risk and
OHS Professional role is limited to planning
and liaising with other services providing fire-
the elimination or reduction of
fighting, rescue and emergency treatment. fatalities, injuries, occupational
• Rehabilitation, return to work: the core role of
the OHS Professional is limited to liaising with diseases, ill health, property
medical and occupational nursing specialists
and advising on workplace adjustments to aid damage and the associated
early return to work.
social and financial losses.


The first level of the framework for the OHS Pro- Seven dimensions are used to outline a framework
fessional is the role statement. This is described at for describing the area of activity of the OHS
three levels: Professional:

• Dimensions – provide the scope of the distin- 1. Systems management approach

guishing boundaries of the OHS Professional 2. Organisational OHS culture
role. 3. OHS risk management processes
• Domains – describe fields of activity within 4. Measurement and evaluation of OHS performance
the dimensions. 5. Knowledge management
• Explanatory comments – provide information 6. Communication, engagement and influence
on the scope of activity within the domain. 7. Professional and ethical practice

Table 2: Role of the OHS Professional
Dimension Domain Explanatory Comments11
1 Lead and sup- 1.1 Lead the development of OHS manage- Integrates with the overall goals, strategies and operation of the organ-
port the devel- ment systems, policies, procedures. isation.
opment and Takes account of both internal factors (technology, employee relations,
implementation hazards) and external factors (market, jurisdiction, regulations, insur-
of a systems ap- ance, national and organisational culture etc.).
proach to OHS. Applies to OHS management systems which cover the full cycle of risk
assessment, policy, planning, consultation, resourcing, communication,
implementation, documentation, motivation, measurement, evaluation
and improvement.
Applies to the whole technology and human factors cycle as appropri-
ate to an organisation: design, construction, procurement, operation,
maintenance, modification, decommissioning and disposal.
Applies to the business cycle including new opportunities, partner-
ships, mergers, acquisitions and disposals.
Applies to all who are affected by the organisation’s activities, including
employees, contractors, visitors, local residents, users of products.
1.2 Advise on and facilitate commitment Resources include finance, competent personnel and equipment
of appropriate resources for sustainably required for proactively managing OHS.
managing OHS.
1.3 Support and motivate senior manage- “People in the organisation” includes contractors.
ment and through them, all people in
the organisation, to provide OHS lead-
ership and to give appropriate priority
to OHS in relation to other business
1.4 Facilitate development and utilization OHS strategic and operational planning is integrated with broader
of strategic and operational plans to organisational and operational planning.
address and improve the control of
OHS hazards, their associated risks and
related costs.
2 Lead and sup- 2.1 Advise managers on appropriate man- Includes furthering the engagement and empowerment of those in
port key influ- agement practices to achieve a positive, the organisation to enable better understanding and control of risks.
encers, including resilient safety culture. In certain jurisdictions this may include collaborating with employee
managers, on and trade union representatives.
strategies to 2.2 Facilitate the identification and manage-
foster a positive, ment of OHS implications of organisa-
resilient OHS tional change and influence the change
culture. process to minimize adverse and maxi-
mize positive effects of the change.
2.3 Engage with stakeholders and others to Stakeholders are those who may be affected or perceive themselves to
promote innovation in managing OHS. be affected by an activity or decision. Relevant stakeholders include
executives, managers, supervisors, worker safety representatives,
workers, contractors, and in some cases the community and others
who may influence or be affected by OHS hazards and management
processes. Others who may have a role in promoting innovation in
managing OHS include those who participate in OHS-related deci-
sion making such as finance, procurement, HR and maintenance.

11 Where no explanation is felt to be necessary the cells are deliberately left blank.

Dimension Domain Explanatory Comments11
3 Lead the devel- 3.1 Develop and implement processes for In collaboration with other specialists for hazards outside the core
opment of OHS hazard identification. expertise of the OHS Professional.
risk manage- Information may be obtained from a number of sources, including histori-
ment processes cal data, task analysis, monitoring of the work environment and relevant
and facilitate and industry data.
support their Range of hazards depends on the organisation and the division of roles
implementation (see Appendix 1).
and mainte- Hazard identification includes processes to identify previously un-
known or unexpected (emergent) hazards for the organisation.
3.2 Using technical, human factors Risk controls include systems, engineering, administrative, proce-
and other theoretical knowledge to dural, ergonomic, and behavioural controls and personal protective
research, review and interpret informa- equipment. They include both prevention and mitigation.
tion on hazards to identify causation,
consequences, possible risk controls
and potential failure in controls.
3.3 Develop and lead processes to identify Risk assessment processes may be qualitative and/or quantitative.
risk factors, analyse and prioritize OHS Risk analysis and risk estimation processes go beyond checklist and
risks. matrix-driven processes.
3.4 Provide technical information to
inform risk analysis and risk estimation
3.5 Provide advice on the requirements for Standards may include international, national, sector-specific and
compliance with OHS-related laws and internal standards.
3.6 Advise on cost effective and efficient Consideration should be given to barriers and controls (technical, hu-
hazard controls and risk minimization/ man and organisational) in initial design and procurement, construc-
mitigation strategies taking a life cycle tion and installation, maintenance and modification, demolition and
approach. redevelopment of facilities, structures and equipment.
Recommendations take into account requirements for legal compliance
and minimizing level of risk, differentiating between compliance and
beyond compliance.
Recommendations should take into account the hierarchy of controls,
legal requirements, organisational and workforce factors, and requisite
variety, defence in depth and redundancy of controls.
Recommendations cover both prevention and reduction of conse-
quences, including emergency planning.
3.7 Support the implementation of controls
for resilient OHS risk management and
OHS risk minimization.
3.8 Monitor the integrity and effective- Failures in control may be indicated by factors such as non-conformi-
ness of controls to identify actual and ties which may become normalized.
potential failure in controls.
4 Develop and 4.1 Develop criteria for monitoring OHS Criteria include lead/positive and lag/negative indicators.
lead processes performance that take account of the
for monitoring, overall organisational goals.
measuring and
evaluating OHS
4.2 Implement processes for monitoring Processes for collecting data include observations, surveys, inspections,
OHS performance that integrate with audits, incident, accident and non-conformity investigations, etc.
operational activities. Information may be obtained from a number of sources, including
historical data, task analysis, monitoring the work environment, data
recording, data management and analysis.

Table 2: Role of the OHS Professional (Continued)
Dimension Domain Explanatory Comments11
4 Develop and 4.3 Monitor the effectiveness of hazard and
lead processes risk controls.
for monitoring, 4.4 Monitor the effectiveness of risk Takes account of cost effectiveness.
measuring and management and OHS management Monitoring includes compliance with internal policies, procedures
evaluating OHS processes. and standards as well as external legislative and industry-specific
performance. requirements.
4.5 Implement processes and procedures Investigation and analysis includes application of appropriate tech-
to investigate, analyse and report on in- niques for data collection through interview, document analysis
cidents and non-conformities indicat- and observation.
ing failures or inadequacies of barriers
and controls.
4.6 Manage OHS audit processes and con- Including both internal and external third party audits.
duct OHS hazard and system audits.
4.7 Support and structure periodic
management reviews to systematically
assess, monitor and identify areas for
improvement in the OHS management
system and OHS culture.
4.9 Make recommendations to address Recommendations may be made through informal or formal
identified issues and improve OHS reporting processes in oral or written formats.
management and risk minimization.
5 Develop and 5.1 Specify and use data management Data collection identifies current and emerging issues.
implement systems for collecting and validating Sources of information include both internal and external sources.
processes for information relevant to OHS. Information collected and managed may include:
knowledge • Hazard and risk-related information (hazard, incident and in-
collection and jury reports; risk assessments; human factors analyses; workplace
management to inspections; audit reports; specialist reports; safety data sheets
enable positive and registers; systems failures; and trend reports)
OHS outcomes. • Organisational information (policies, programs, procedures,
surveys, resourcing, project plans, production schedules, etc.)
• External information (laws, standards, guidance material,
industry and research information).
5.2 Collect and critically evaluate informa- Data collection identifies current and emerging issues.
tion from diverse sources and databas- Includes collection of tacit OHS-relevant knowledge developed by
es as part of evidence-based practice. experienced employees.
5.3 Apply data and information to monitor Evaluation should cover a variety of measures benchmarked
OHS performance. against both internal and external data.
6 Communicate 6.1 Develop and implement OHS-related For gathering and disseminating information and for actively en-
with, engage communication and consultation gaging stakeholders in OHS management processes.
and influence systems and processes for the organisa- Implemented with sensitivity to organisational and other cultural
decision mak- tion. influences such as ethnic and age structures.
ers and other 6.2 Lead and facilitate OHS knowledge Includes legal and organisational responsibilities.
stakeholders to and skill development and understand- Others who may have OHS responsibilities are people who are
mitigate risk and ing of OHS responsibilities, obligations involved in OHS decision making or who are affected by decisions.
optimize worker and actions required to meet legal and This may include finance, procurement, human resources, mainte-
health and risk management requirements. nance and other functional management areas.
safety. Where training strategies are applied, processes include train-
ing needs analysis, development of training programs, delivery of
training, evaluation of training effectiveness against defined stan-
dards and development and maintenance of appropriate records.

Dimension Domain Explanatory Comments11
6.3 Analyse and interpret information to Audiences may include all levels within the organisation as well as
communicate technical and theoretical external audiences such as industry and local community, specialist
concepts and knowledge about OHS. and non-specialist audiences.
Audiences at the organisational level may include shop floor work-
ers, OHS committees, supervisors, managers, executive managers,
boards, and organisational functions such as production, human
resources, finance, procurement, external consultants, suppliers,
contractors, and emergency services.
A range of communication formats and media are to be utilised as
appropriate to the audience.
Interpretation and communication of information includes provid-
ing the underpinning rationale and taking into account the at-
tributes of the target audience, including culture, terminology and
business perspective.
6.4 Communicate and liaise with busi- Covers government regulators, insurance companies and other
ness partners, OHS regulators and organisations imposing OHS requirements.
other external bodies on behalf of the
6.5 Be a “trusted advisor” to influence With sensitivity to organisational and other cultural influences
management decision making to con- such as ethnic and age structures.
sider OHS implications.
7 Apply profes- 7.1 Comply with laws and regulations Where working in a number of countries, this entails comparing
sional and ethi- governing professional practice of OHS and reconciling national differences in laws and regulation.
cal standards to and related activities.
practice. 7.2 Make impartial decisions and judg-
ments based on scientific evidence and
verifiable theoretical and professional
knowledge and practice.
7.3 Operate with a level of autonomy to
conceptualize, plan, implement and
evaluate OHS projects and risk control
and management processes.
7.4 Observe relevant codes of conduct pro- OHS professional association and/or certification organisation
vided by professional associations and codes of conduct.
other assessment and advisory bodies
nationally and internationally.
7.5 Ensure that clients, employers and oth- Calls upon those with deeper knowledge as appropriate when ad-
ers who may be affected by their activi- vising on issues and problems beyond their personal capability.
ties are aware of their levels of profes-
sional capability and seek specialist
advice where appropriate.
7.6 Ensure currency of conceptual un- Keeping up to date with new developments and knowledge through
derstanding, technical knowledge and professional development, certification and further qualification.
industry practice.
7.7 Engage in evidence-informed reflec- Contribute to the further development of the profession.
tive practice, evaluative activities and
professional discussion with a view to
testing ideas through peer appraisal.
7.8 Act as an exemplar of good OHS prac-
tice and behaviour to peers, co-workers
and the public.

T his section of the OHS Professional Capability
Framework describes the knowledge required
to undertake the tasks described in Section 4.
An OHS Professional who is fully competent (i.e.,
has completed education and a period of practical
experience) is expected, at minimum, to operate
at the level of applying for every knowledge catego-
The first section of the knowledge matrix describes ry, at analysing for the majority of the knowledge
the categories of knowledge with some description and, depending on the level of the professional,
of the intended scope of the knowledge included at evaluating and synthesizing for many areas of
in the category. This is described at a high level to knowledge. The skills and attitudes which are
allow flexibility in the way it is applied to suit the required for the OHS Professional are discussed in
legal and OHS context in individual countries. The Section 6.
areas of knowledge are grouped under six head-
ings, covering the following generic topics: The classification used to discuss the knowledge
base of the OHS Professional is not the same
A: Understanding hazards and risks as that used for the dimensions and domains
B: Understanding risk controls described in Section 4. While Section 4 dis-
C: Safety and health management cussed tasks, this section describes the underlying
D: Professional role and functioning knowledge needed to carry out those tasks, which
E: Underlying technical and behavioural disciplines means a move to a classification which resides
F: Underlying management science. in the underlying disciplines and subjects which
constitute OHS. For each task in the roles there are
Examples of topics that may be relevant to each of many pieces of knowledge which are relevant, and
the knowledge categories are provided to illustrate each piece of knowledge may underpin several,
the potential scope of the knowledge category. if not many, of the tasks. This produces a many-
The relevance of the illustrative examples and the to-many mapping or matrix, which is not made
breadth and depth in which they may apply will explicit in this document. In designing education
vary across countries, and to some extent, the or- and training in the specified knowledge, course
ganisational role and background of the individual designers decide how to combine the learning of
OHS Professional. underpinning disciplines with learning how to
perform the tasks which draw on a combination of
It should be noted that knowledge may be at six those disciplines.
Even within this section on knowledge there is
• Remembering (fact retention) also a many-to-many mapping between the head-
• Understanding ings A to D of applied knowledge and the underly-
• Applying ing disciplines of headings E and F.
• Analysing
• Evaluating
• Synthesizing/creating.12 1

12 These levels of knowledge are based on the Bloom Tax-

onomy. See B.S., Engelhart, M.D., Furst, E.J., Hill, W.H., &
Krathwohl, D.R. (Eds) (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objec-
tives: Handbook 1 Cognitive domain. New York: David McKay.

Table 3: Knowledge of OHS Professional
Code Illustrative generic topics
A Understanding hazards and risks (see also Appendix 2)
1. Causation – • Multifactorial nature of health determinants
Health & Psy- • Work related impacts on health
chosocial13 • Concept & models of “healthy work” and “wellness”
• Models of causation of fatigue and stress
• Mental illness in the workplace
2. Causation – • Models of accident14 causation (linear to complex)
3. Causation – •Models of environmental harm (air, water, soil)
4. Risk • Difference between hazard and risk
• Risk as a complex concept (qualitative/quantitative; uncertainty)
5. Hazards • Hazard analysis methods (i.e., JSA, FMEA, HAZOP, Fault Tree, etc.)
• Knowledge of exposure standards and their application
• For each specific hazard16:
■■ Basic underpinning science to understand the behaviour of the hazard, how it causes damage and how it can be
■■ Relevant definitions, units and methods of measurement
■■ Mechanisms of damage, injury and health outcomes
■■ How the hazard is used/occurs in the occupational environment and specific industries
■■ Risk factors
■■ Hazard specific legislation and standards
B Understanding hazard and risk controls
6. Control – • Time sequence of pre-event, event and post event and relevant control/intervention points
Principles • Requisite variety in controls
• Hierarchies of control, barriers and defences
• Health protection and promotion
• Hazard specific risk control strategies
7. Control – Pro- • Concept of inherent safety
cess and work- • Process and equipment instrumentation and control
place design • Human factors and ergonomics (including anthropometry, cognitive ergonomics)
• User-centred design
• Workplace layout
• Impact of technology, including automation
8. Control – • Types of barriers (machinery guarding, access control, separation, containment, work skills, PPE, etc.)
Barriers • Role and limitations of barriers
• Barrier maintenance requirements
• Establishing and managing a PPE program (including selection and fitting)
9. Control – • Systems of work
Procedural and • Rules and procedures
administrative • Handovers, permit to work systems, lock out/tag out
controls • Inspection, maintenance and testing
• Competent workers: recruitment and selection processes, fitness for work
• Competent workers: training - needs analysis; development and documentation of training; multimodal delivery;
assessment of individuals and of the training programs, coaching
• Behaviour management and modification
• Licensed operators
• Outsourcing, contractor management
• Supply chain management

13 The degree to which OHS Professionals are involved with the control of psycho-social hazards differs from country to country. The degree of involvement will govern how much
knowledge is required under these headings.
14 The term “accident” in this document includes incidents (sometimes called dangerous situations, near-misses or precursors) leading towards, but stopping short of harm.
15 The degree to which OHS Professionals are involved with the control of environmental hazards differs from country to country. The degree of involvement will govern how
much knowledge is required under these headings.
16 See Appendix 2.

Table 3: Knowledge of OHS Professional (Continued)
Code Illustrative generic topics
10. Mitigation – • For the range of hazards and emergency types covered (see Appendix 1)
Emergency • Liaison with external agencies: chain of command
preparedness • Relevant standards
• Detection and mitigation methods
• Development and implementation of preparedness, including testing of preparedness
• Recovery including organisation continuity plans and management
11. Mitigation – • Provision of first aid and medical services
Health • Workers’ compensation and local legal requirements
impacts17 • Injury management, case management, and claims management
• Role of work and the workplace in worker recovery (establishing and managing a return-to-work program)
C Safety & health management
12. Safety • OHS management systems (structure and elements, relevant standards, limitations)
management • System safety
• Systems of work, work procedures and instructions
• Decision making
• Theories of safety management (such as High Reliability, Error and Performance variation, Resilience Engineering)
• Relation of safety management systems to environmental, quality and business management approaches
13. Organisational • Organisations as complex socio-technical systems
culture • Concepts of national, organisational and safety culture
• Relationship between employee (manager and workforce) behaviour, organisational culture, safety culture and safety
• Organisational maturity
• Leadership
• Healthy work
• Role, use and limitations of safety and health incentives, awards and competitions in relation to culture
14. Law, • Regional, national and international regulatory context
regulation and • Legal principles comparative legal systems and regulatory frameworks
societal context • Criminal and civil law and impact on OHS
• OHS-specific law
• Compliance and enforcement policies and strategies in the jurisdiction
• Workers compensation law18
• Product liability law
• Basics of contract law
• Due diligence
• Best practice as it affects common law, standard of care and regulation
• ILO, ISO and other international standards
• Market and societal influences
15. Risk assessment • Risk identification/analysis/control/evaluation methods
and decision • Sources of information on risk
making on risk • Process and task analysis
• Estimating levels of risk (quantitative and qualitative; including issues and limitations)
• Defining acceptable levels of risk (legal requirements, internal standards, ALARP19)
• Risk and decision making (individual and organisational decision making processes, balancing priorities, risk per-
ception, risk communication, role of workforce, trade unions, public and other stakeholders)
• Risk management standards (process, application and limitations)
• Risk assessment methods and their application for specific hazards

17 The degree to which OHS Professionals are involved with these health mitigations differs from country to country. The degree of involvement will govern how much knowledge
is required under these headings.
18 The degree to which OHS Professionals are involved with these legal aspects differs from country to country depending on their legal and compensation systems. The degree of
involvement will govern how much knowledge is required under these headings.
19 As Low As is Reasonably Practicable.

Code Illustrative generic topics
16. Monitoring, • Risk control and hazard monitoring techniques (including inspections and maintenance)
evaluating and • Work environment monitoring (required equipment and programs)
validating • Investigation methods (incidents, non-conformities)
controls • Role of health surveillance and health risk assessments20
• Monitoring effectiveness of controls
• Auditing (hazard audits, compliance audits, OHSMS21 audits, protocols and procedures, relevant standards)
• Key performance indicators (qualitative, quantitative, lead and lag)
• Benchmarking
• Basic principles of quantitative and qualitative evaluation methodologies
• Organisational learning
17. OHS • Sources and communication of OHS information (internal and external)
information • Workplace requirements for OHS information
management • External agencies’ requirements for information
• Documentation requirements (organisational and external)
• Systems for managing OHS information
• Data collection by research, investigation, interview & observation
18. Communication • Organisational channels of communication (formal/informal, internal/external; barriers to communication)
and consultation • Consultative structures (e.g., safety committees)
• Participatory management as it relates to OHS
• Models of influence and factors contributing to influence
• Conflict management
19. Change • Strategies for defining problems (e.g. root cause analysis, “five whys,” etc.)
management • Strategies for analysing and understanding problems (e.g. affinity diagrams, flow charts, cause and effect, system
• Potential for change to have an impact on work equipment, work processes and work environment
• Psychology of change as it relates to individuals
• Innovation and change management processes (planning, consulting, promoting, reviewing and consolidating)
• Role of OHS professional in consulting and supporting and managing change
D Professional role and functioning (see also skills in Section 6)
20. Ethics and • Corporate governance
professional • Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability
practice • Roles, responsibilities and rights22
• Models of ethical practice and ethical decision making23
• Professional ethics and codes of conduct
• Professional role (independence, impartiality, confidentiality, capability, evidence-base, collegiality, practice within
• Professional liability and indemnity
• Theories of communication, advocacy, persuasion and documentation
• Research methodologies relating to OHS and work-based research
• Setting up and participating in team work
E Underlying technical, human & social sciences
21. Systems • Systems as a concept, including variability
• Systems thinking in an OHS context
22. Human as a • Basic human biology
biological system • Physiology as it relates to work
• Biomechanics as it relates to work
• Cumulative compared with acute impacts on the body
• Basic principles of toxicology
20 While health surveillance and health monitoring is the purview of the health professional, the OHS Professional should have an understanding of the role of these activities and
be able to engage with health professionals on these activities.
21 Occupational Health and Safety Management System
22 Including right to know and right to refuse unsafe work.
23 These should take account of national differences.

Table 3: Knowledge of OHS Professional (Continued)
Code Illustrative generic topics
23. Individual • Psychobiology (structure and function of the brain and nervous systems, role of endocrine systems in response)
Psychology • Cognitive psychology (situation awareness, memory, cognitive biases in decision making)
• Behavioural psychology (learning, conditioning, motivation)
• Communication
• Human error
• Fatigue and stress
• Impact of aging on work capability
24. Social • Perceiving individuals (attribution theory and biases)
psychology • Self in relation to others (social comparison theory)
• Group membership (development of groups; in-groups and out-groups; social identity and self-categorization theo-
ries; stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination contact hypothesis)
• Groups as they relate to team work
• Norms and group pressure to conform
• Task performance (decision making biases; group task performance)
• Power (sources of power, compliance, inequality, obedience to authority)
• Attitudes and behaviour (e.g. theory of planned behaviour; cognitive dissonance theory, persuasion theory)
• Understanding and resolving conflict (competition and cooperation; conflict management styles; distributive and
procedural justice)
25. Statistics and • Basic arithmetic and algebraic manipulation
quantitative • Units of measurement, prefixes and logarithmic scales
analysis • Data display and reporting
• Probability, sampling distribution and confidence levels
• Basic statistical measures including sources of error
• Principles of survey methods
• Principles of epidemiological analysis
• Principles of designing assessments of intervention effectiveness
26. Science and • Basic science and technology to understand the damage and control mechanisms of hazards covered (see Appendix
engineering 1), types of machinery and processes (including their functioning and hazards); standards relating to “state of the art
and best available technology”
• Use and interpretation of hazard monitoring equipment (e.g. noise, ventilation, chemicals, etc.)
F Understanding hazards and risks (see also Appendix 1)
27. Organisations • Organisational structure, departments, roles and responsibilities, authority and accountability
• Impact of reporting structures
• Organisational goals and strategy
• Governance arrangements
• Resource allocation processes
• Principles of change management
28. Project • Key requirements for successful projects
management • Project conceptualisation and design
• Project planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring
• Project evaluation
29. Strategic and • Managing self
operational • Managing others
planning • Operational and strategic planning
30. Business • Financial literacy in a business context, including budgeting
imperatives • Business case development and cost-benefit analysis
• Human resources management/management of people
• Legislation and organisational arrangements relating to terms and conditions of employment, employee rights, con-
sultation and participation
• Understanding of external environment including legal and market pressures

U sing “Bloom”24 style taxonomy approach, this

section describes skills required to practice as

an OHS Professional. The same type of many-to-
C. Professional technical skills
C1. Training
C2. Surveying, inspecting and auditing
many mappings found between Sections 4 and 5 is C3. Investigating
also to be found between this section on skills and C4. Measuring and recording
the role and tasks of the OHS Professional (Section
4) on the one hand and between the skills and the
knowledge and underlying science (Section 5) on
the other. Again the educators and trainers must
decide how to structure learning so as to provide
both a firm foundation in the relevant parts of
the knowledge underlying the skills and a suitable
combination of those into the skills and tasks of
the OHS Professional.

Skills are presented in three sections: personal

skills, professional practice skills and professional
technical skills.

A. Personal skills
A1. Verbal communication
A2. Professional presentation

B. Professional practice
B1. Evidence-based practice
Knowledge management
Problem solving and critical thinking
Evidence-based practice
B2. Empowerment Educators and trainers must decide
how to structure learning so as to
B3. Leadership provide both a firm foundation in
Negotiation and management of conflict the relevant parts of the knowledge
B4. Management underlying the skills and a suitable
Project management and management of change
Managing others
combination of those into the skills
B5. Professional and ethical practice and tasks of the OHS Professional.
Professional practice
Ethical practice

24 Anderson, L.W., Krathwohl, D.R., Airasian, P.W., Crui-

kshank, K.A., Meyer, R.E., Pintrich, P.R., Raths, J., & Whittrock,
M.C. (2001). Anderson, L.W., Krathwohl, D.R., Airasian, P.W.,
Cruikshank, K.A., Meyer, R.E., Pintrich, P.R., Raths, J., & Whit-
trock, M.C. (2001).

Table 4: OHS Professional Skills
Skills Action Performance criteria
A Personal skills
A.1 Verbal Selects Selects an appropriate time, format and venue taking account of the nature of the communication
communication and the needs of the other person.
Focuses Gives full attention to the speaker. Puts him or her at ease. Uses non-verbal cues appropriately.
Uses Uses language appropriate to the nature of the communication and the other person; is clear and
concise and uses questioning techniques as appropriate.
Respects Demonstrates empathy, open-mindedness and respect. Looks at issues from others’ perspective.
Lets go of preconceived ideas. Builds on others’ perspectives to enhance effectiveness and quality of
Accepts feedback Encourages and receives feedback with an open mind, listens, questions for clarification, reflects on
the implications for own behaviour and expresses appreciation for the feedback.
Gives Feedback Gives feedback, including praise, which is timely, specific and focuses on behaviours rather than the
Confirms Closes communication by summarizing and clarifying the outcomes.
A.2 Professional Documents Prepares professional reports and documentation that are easily understood by the intended audi-
presentation ence, demonstrating appropriate selection and structuring of information and correct spelling, gram-
skills mar and reporting skills.
Customizes Provides information in a variety of formats and communication channels that take account of audi-
ence characteristics, needs and cultural sensitivities.
Uses Utilizes information technology effectively in research, documentation, analysis and prevention.
Presents Makes informal and formal presentations that clearly communicate the topic to a range of audiences
using a variety of media.
Engages Works with and engages the interests of people from a range of disciplines, backgrounds and work-
groups, including senior management.
B Professional skills
B1 Evidence-based practice
B1.1 Knowledge Accesses Uses a range of strategies to access information from a range of internal and external sources.
management Accesses Investigates and assesses the credibility of sources and reliability and validity of information.
Collates Consolidates information to identify common themes.
Evaluate Critically evaluates and validates results through challenging information, concepts and theories.
Synthesizes Applies information, concepts and theories to inform practice.
B1.2 Problem Identifies Applies informal and structured strategies to identify a problem(s).
solving and criti-
Analyses Applies a range of information gathering and analytical strategies to clarify the nature of the problem
cal thinking
and the contributing factors.
Evaluates Applies consultative and creative processes for generating potential solutions.
Decides On a strategy based on evaluation.
Implements Applies change management processes to implement selected solutions.
Reviews Seeks information and feedback to evaluate and validate the effectiveness of the solutions.
Improves Takes action based on the outcomes of the review to optimize OHS outcomes.

Skills Action Performance criteria
B1.3 Evidence-based Accesses Accesses OHS research papers and reports for evidence to inform OHS professional practice.
practice Designs Designs workplace-based studies that have rigour and ethical integrity to clarify issues, contributing
factors and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.
Implements Systematically implements workplace-based research studies.
Analyses Analyzes and evaluates OHS research papers, reports and workplace studies for evidence to inform
OHS professional practice.
Applies Synthesizes OHS research information and outcomes to inform OHS practice.
B2 Influence
B2.1 Mentoring Establishes Engages to establish a relationship as a basis for learning and development of another.
Clarifies Engages with others to clarify their current knowledge, skill and perspective basis, their goals, and
factors that may affect achievement of their goals.
Shares Engages to share knowledge, skills, information and perspective to foster personal and professional
development of another.
Supports Provides constructive feedback to enable transferable learning.
Reflects Engages with another to review their learnings and strategy for achieving the goals.
B2.2 Engaging Networks Identifies champions and other stakeholders (including managers, technical staff, employees, consul-
tants, regulators and local residents) and creates positive relationships.
Informs Provides technically-correct information informed by conceptual models that takes account of cur-
rent OHS thinking.
Empathizes Identifies the needs and perspectives of others including the organisational environment. Generates
their respect.
Advises Provides advice that is understandable by others and takes account of the needs and perspectives of
others and the organisational environment.
Relates Becomes a trusted resource through establishing credibility and demonstrating reliability.
Supports Provides support for managers and others both by actions and communications.
Acts Takes action to implement strategy and management decisions.
B3 Leadership
B3.1 Teamwork Identifies Understands and identifies different traits, styles and team roles.
Facilitates Understands and recognises the steps in group/team formation and supports the maturation of a
group to form an effective team.
Clarifies Supports discussion to ensure that team members have a common understanding of the goals and
individual roles and they share a commitment to the activity.
Shares Shares information and ideas openly and willingly inside and outside formal team processes and of-
fers assistance to others in carrying out their tasks.
Respects Listens to and respects the opinions of others, has patience and respects and trusts others to complete
their assigned tasks.
Commits Actively participates in team processes and demonstrates commitment by attending meetings and
other activities.
Adapts Demonstrates flexibility in own role in team and openness to the opinions of others and in dealing
with changing conditions.
Challenges Identifies the phenomenon of “group think” and challenges the group to open the discussion to apply
broader thinking.25

25 Formal strategies such as “6 thinking hats” may be applied.

Table 4: OHS Professional Skills
Skills Action Performance criteria
B3.2 Negotiation and Asserts Understands that differences of opinion are a healthy part of management decision making and, in
management of that context, forms their own opinion.
conflict Prepares Ensures that all pertinent facts and context of the situation are known.
Respects Identifies the background and reason for differences in opinion and respects those differences.
Clarifies Applies interpersonal skills of listening, questioning, and reflecting to facilitate discussion to clarify
goals and common ground.
Facilitates Facilitates discussion to identify alternative strategies and compromises which may achieve greater
benefit for all concerned than original positions.
Confirms Clearly states the agreement reached so that all involved have a similar understanding of the out-
B3.3 Personal Shows self-aware- Identifies own leadership style and the need for both further development and situational adaptation
leadership ness to enhance leadership capabilities.
Demonstrates Demonstrates up-to-date knowledge on current issues in OHS and ability to explain complex topics
capability in a way that is understandable to others.
Initiates Creates an imperative for change and a clear vision to bring people along.
Engages Engages people in the process, comprehends and accepts emotions, feelings and perspective of others
and able to build rapport and empathy with others.
Asserts Demonstrates assertiveness in subtle, constructive ways.
Leads Sets an example, demonstrates confidence, optimism and interest in others, generates confidence in
Generates Generates respect by others.
Builds Builds consensus and constructive problem solving.
Enables Provides support to people to make them comfortable, bases change on learning, and enables people
to have ownership of the outcome.
Perseveres Recognises that change takes time.
B4 Management
B4.1 Project Communicates Identifies and clearly communicates the need for improvement and change and the benefits of
management change.
and management Consults Identifies options for change to address needs and realise benefits.
of change
Defines Defines and clarifies scope of change, parameters, objectives, budget, stakeholders, roles and time
lines and interaction with other processes and activities.
Establishes Identifies key players and establishes project team to facilitate change and give people an ownership
of outcomes.
Collaborates Collaborates to develop project plan, identify project risks and required resources and potential
impact on other groups.
Manages Identifies and assesses appropriate project management tools; develops operational plans; accesses
required resources; defines, communicates and delegates roles and responsibilities. Establishes moni-
toring processes. Coaches and supports others in managing change.
Administers Establishes and maintains required record keeping systems including financial record keeping and
project progress. Plans, prepares and conducts structured meetings with clear outcomes.
Communicates Maintains communications with all affected groups to support change.
Finalises Completes activities including required reports.
Reviews/ monitors With input from project team, reviews and evaluates project processes and outcomes against project
scope and plan. Documents lessons learned. Recognises input of others and shares credit for achieve-

Skills Action Performance criteria
B4.2 Managing Identifies Identifies and clarifies the role of others from both strategic and operational perspectives with an
others26 understanding of what is reasonable given the circumstances.
Organises Plans and allocates appropriate resources and allocation of personnel to OHS and company priorities.
Reviews Reviews and monitors the processes and outputs of those being managed.
Supports Creates opportunities to develop the capability of those being managed.
B5 Professional and ethical practice
B5.1 Professional Self manages Manages own activities and is reliable with regard to agreed deliverables and time lines.
practice Commits Undertakes formal and informal CPD27 activity to ensure currency and capability.
Collaborates Works effectively as leader or part of a team, respecting differences and diversities.
Values Recognizes the value of professional, enterprise and industry collaboration.
Consults Seeks information or informed opinion from others as part of decision making.
Seeks further advice within the OHS profession and across other professions and stakeholders as ap-
Engages Engages in professional discussion with peers with a view to advancing professional practice.
Appropriately and effectively engages with technology to access, collect and collate information,
produce documents, and engage with people in appropriate ways (including providing information,
communicating, and developing and delivering training).
Reflects Applies formal and informal processes to reflect on current and past practice to identify areas for
improvement or development.
B5.2 Ethical practice Limits Recognizes the limits of own knowledge, skills and experience.
Complies Observes relevant codes of conduct and laws.
Respects Treats all individuals with respect and maintains confidentiality of personal and business-sensitive
Tests Critically examines the ethics of proposed courses of action.
Advises Provides unbiased advice with scientific impartiality.
Acts With honesty and probity. Sets example of good OHS behaviour.
Accounts for Takes responsibility for and demonstrates the conceptual and technical underpinning of own practice.
Supports Recognizes when disclosure and whistle blowing may be appropriate and takes action in an ethical
C OHS professional technical skills
C1 Training Identifies Identifies knowledge and skills gaps and training needs for specific groups.
Develops Develops appropriate learning outcomes to address knowledge and skills gaps.
Prepares Prepares appropriate training material to address learning outcomes and defined competencies.
Organises Organises appropriate planning processes and logistics to deliver training to specified groups.
Delivers Communicates effectively during training with a wide range of people.
Supports Engages with supervisors, employees and managers to assist them to acquire and utilize their skills
and knowledge for improving OHS.
Assesses/ Evaluates Assesses learning outcomes for effectiveness and makes modifications as necessary.

26 Others include OHS staff and contractors. Not all OHS professionals will be involved in managing others. The degree of involvement will govern the knowledge and scope of the
skill required under this heading.
27 Continuous Professional Development: structured ways to develop and maintain capability.

Table 4: OHS Professional Skills
Skills Action Performance criteria
C2 Surveying, Observes Systematically seeks out and observes the workplace, state of technology, processes and behaviours to
inspecting and evaluate conformity with requirements.
auditing Designs Designs a comprehensive monitoring system to collect and analyse information to evaluate risk con-
trols and OHS management processes.
Interviews Meets with, collects information from and discusses OHS with all levels of employees and managers
to gain insight to their work practices, beliefs and attitudes to OHS.
Evaluates Combines and critically assesses information from inspections, surveys and audits to determine the
state of OHS in the organisation.
Reports Provides written and oral reports to stakeholders and decision makers as a basis for improvement.
C3 Investigating Observes Identifies and collects evidence associated with accidents and non-conformances to determine the
sequence of events and assist in uncovering causal links.
Interviews Collects information impartially from people involved with the development of the accident/event
while avoiding hindsight and other biases. Ensures that conclusions are soundly based.
Combines Puts together the evidence about the development of the incident/accident in a critical way to under-
stand and chart that scenario and its links to underlying practices and conditions.
Analyses Recognizes the difference between superficial and underlying causes of incidents and unsafe condi-
tions. Identifies ineffective and missing barriers. Assesses and introduces possible improvements to
avoid the scenario revealed and any other related scenarios.
Reports Writes and communicates reports to organisational, professional and legal standards as a basis for
future prevention.
Recommends Makes appropriate use of the analysis to make recommendations for improvement in the work pro-
cesses and work and organisational environment.
Improves Initiates changes to implement recommendations.
Monitors Assesses the implementation of recommended controls and their effectiveness.
C4 Measuring and Selects Chooses the appropriate tools to assess the organisation’s processes, workplaces and working environ-
monitoring ments
Uses Implements the appropriate tools to gather information to assess the risks and effectiveness of con-
trols of the organisation’s processes, workplaces and working environments that contribute to OHS
Interprets Analyses data to understand the work environment and identify issues and areas for improvement.

OHS Practitioner and OHS Professional Level Profiles
T he following professional profiles have been
developed with reference to the sources below.
All accessed online in September 2015.
• OHS Professional Capabilities. (2012).
Australian OHS Education Accreditation
Board. www.ohseducationaccreditation.
• The Australian Qualification Framework, Ed 2.
(2013). Capability-3-Capability-statements.pdf
• The European Qualification Framework. • Sample position profiles (2013) Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board.
• Skills Framework for the Information Age.
5th Ed, (2011). SFIA Foundation. www.

Vocationally-Educated OHS Practitioner Profile

Practitioner Level 1 Practitioner Level 2 Practitioner Level 3
Position details
Representative OHS Officer OHS Advisor OHS Coordinator
Key purpose To support a safe work environment To contribute to the maintenance of a To contribute to the maintenance of a safe and
of role by maintaining OHS administrative safe work environment by managing healthy work environment by managing OHS
processes, conducting basic OHS train- OHS administrative processes, conduct- administrative processes, identifying train-
ing and effectively using a range of OHS ing training and effectively using a range ing needs, designing and conducting training
tools and processes to implement OHS of OHS tools and processes to implement and effectively using a range of OHS tools and
programs and drive compliance. OHS programs and drive compliance. processes to implement OHS programs and
drive compliance.
Typical reporting OHS manager in larger organisations. In SME may report to manager/CEO with advice from contracted consultant.
Professional parameters
Autonomy Limited responsibility in known or Identified responsibility in known or Defined responsibility in contexts that are
changing contexts and within estab- changing contexts and within broad but subject to change within broad parameters.
lished parameters. established parameters. Works under general direction with a clear
Works under direction with responsibil- Works under general direction with framework of accountability, exercising sub-
ity for own output. personal responsibility for own outputs stantial responsibility and autonomy in area
within broad parameters and determin- of work.
ing when issues should be escalated to a
higher level.
Influence Interacts and engages with opera- Interacts with and influences operational, Influences work across a designated area in-
tional staff, supervisors and consultative supervisory and middle management cluding projects and team activities. May have
groups in own area. staff and consultative groups across a des- some responsibility for resource allocation
ignated area. May make decisions with and engagement with external agencies.
the potential to affect the work of others.
Complexity Performs a range of varied work activi- Performs a range of work that is some- Performs a range of complex technical activi-
ties in a structured environment. times complex and non-routine in a ties in a variety of contexts.
range of environments.
Business and Demonstrates an understanding of the Demonstrates an understanding of the Demonstrates an understanding of how OHS
organisational operational activities and demands in wider implications of OHS strategies interacts/integrates with the broader opera-
skills own area of work. and activities for other functions and tional environment within the organisation.
areas of the organisation.

Vocationally-Educated OHS Practitioner Profile (Continued)
Knowledge and skills
Knowledge Demonstrated broad factual and techni- Demonstrated broad technical and Demonstrated comprehensive and integrated
cal OHS knowledge with some theoreti- theoretical OHS knowledge with depth OHS technical knowledge underpinned by a
cal basis. in some areas. theoretical understanding and depth in some
Analyse and Applies cognitive skills to identify, anal- Cognitive and communication skills to Cognitive and communication skills to iden-
evaluate yse, compare and act on information identify, analyse, synthesise and act on tify, analyse, synthesise and act on informa-
information from a range of workplace sources. information from a range of workplace tion from a range of workplace and external
sources. sources.
Problem Applies a methodical approach to provide Applies cognitive and technical skills to Cognitive and technical skills to develop
solving technical solutions of a routine or contin- analyse, plan and evaluate approaches creative solutions to unpredictable and some-
gency nature to a defined range of predict- to sometimes unpredictable problems in times complex problems in a defined range of
able problems in known environments. known environments. environments.
Transmit knowl- Apply communication skills to guide Applies communications skills to trans- Applies communications skills to transfer
edge skills and activities and provide technical advice. fer knowledge and skills to others. sometimes specialist knowledge and skills to
ideas others.
Qualification AQF 4/EQF 4 AQF 5/EQF 4 AQF 6/EQF 5
Example Certificate IV in OHS Diploma in OHS NEBOSH Diploma
qualifications NEBOSH General Certificate

Higher Education/University-Educated OHS Professional Profile

Professional Level 1 Professional Level 2 Professional Level 3
Position details
Representative Graduate OHS Advisor OHS Manager General/Group Manager OHS
titles OHS Director
Key purpose To support the development To initiate, develop and maintain a safe and healthy To initiate, develop and maintain a safe and
of role and maintenance of a safe work environment by identifying organisational healthy work environment by identifying and
and healthy work environ- OHS staffing and training needs; applying specialist addressing OHS staffing needs for the long
ment by ensuring appropriate skills and knowledge of the OHS evidence base to term; coaching senior managers; applying high
maintenance of OHS records, develop, implement and evaluate OHS strategy and level strategic and/or specialist skills to work
identifying OHS training needs, programs across an organisation or division. with Boards, executives, senior managers and
designing, delivering and evalu- others to lead, plan and drive OHS strategies
ating OHS training; applying across the organisation.
OHS evidence base to develop,
implement and evaluate OHS
strategy and programs.
Typical re- OHS manager in larger or- General manager OHS in larger organisations CEO
porting ganisations. In smaller organisations: MD/CEO, Operations Senior operations manager
In smaller organisations: MD/ Manager, HR Manager. Head of Risk
CEO, Operations Manager,
HR Manager.
Professional parameters
Autonomy Works under broad direction, Makes high-level independent judgments; plans, Makes high-level independent judgments re-
independently or as part of implements and monitors substantial projects. garding technical OHS issues and operates with
team, on activities that may a high level of autonomy to conceptualise, plan,
be self-initiated; is account- implement and evaluate major OHS projects.
able for meeting milestones
and timelines.

Higher Education/University-Educated OHS Professional Profile (Continued)
Influence Builds internal and exter- Develops relationships with senior management, Develops long-term strategic relationships with
nal relationships to create OHS professionals and practitioners to create/influ- senior management team and operational manag-
influence in achieving OHS ence OHS-related policy, objectives and strategy. ers; builds relationship with external stakeholders,
objectives. May manage an OHS group. including industry bodies and OHS regula-
Liaises with industry leaders and OHS regulatory tory agencies; directs OHS strategy across the
agencies. organisation and sometimes the industry and the
May manage an OHS group.
Complexity Performs an extensive range/va- Creatively performs a range of highly complex OHS Applies a deep knowledge of OHS together
riety of complex technical and activities and leads on formulation and implementa- with management and leadership skills in a
professional activities requiring tion of OHS strategy. range of diverse complex and sometimes unfa-
application of fundamental miliar contexts to lead the formulation, imple-
principles in a wide an often mentation and evaluation of OHS strategy.
unpredictable range of contexts.
Business and Understands the relation- Understands the wider organisational and business Brings an international perspective and an
organisational ship between OHS and wider environment and the impact on managing OHS. awareness of the broader business and op-
skills organisational requirements. erational environment to the management of
Knowledge and skills
Knowledge Demonstrated familiarity Demonstrated understanding of advanced theoreti- Demonstrated advanced and integrated under-
with and understanding of a cal OHS concepts and technical knowledge within a standing of a complex OHS Body of Knowl-
broad range of OHS concepts systematic and coherent OHS Body of Knowledge. edge including an extended understanding
with deep technical knowl- of recent developments as a basis for critical
edge in some hazard areas. thinking.
Analyse and Apply cognitive and technical Apply cognitive and technical skills to access, anal- Apply cognitive, technical and creative skills
evaluate skills to access, review, criti- yse and evaluate information to think critically to to investigate, analyse complex information,
information cally evaluate and consolidate generate and evaluate complex ideas to inform OHS concepts and theory, reflect critically to gener-
information from a range of practice. ate new knowledge and apply to professional
external and internal sources practice.
to inform OHS practice.
Problem Apply critical thinking, infor- Applies critical thinking, information gathering, Apply critical reflection to synthesise infor-
solving mation gathering, communi- communication skills and judgment to identify and mation and established theory from a variety
cation skills and judgment to analyse complex OHS problems to generate practical of sources to generate practical evidence-
identify and analyse routine evidence-informed solutions taking account of legis- informed solutions to OHS problems within a
and sometimes complex OHS lation and industry standards and the organisational business environment taking account of legisla-
problems to generate practical environment. tion and industry standards.
evidence-informed solutions
taking account of legislation
and industry standards.
Apply cognitive, technical Apply cognitive, technical and communication skills Apply knowledge of the OHS evidence base,
and communication skills to justify and prioritise proposed solutions taking logical reasoning and a business evaluation pro-
to justify proposed solutions account of OHS principles, organisational, legal cess to explain the risks and benefits of a range
from an OHS perspective. industry and other relevant factors. of options and justify recommendations taking
account of current thinking in OHS, commer-
cial factors, industry standards and legislation.
Transmit Select and appropriately apply a Interpret and tailor information to communicate Interprets and tailors technical information,
knowledge, broad range of communication knowledge and ideas to a workplace and professional complex concepts and theories to communi-
skills and skills and formats to explain audiences using appropriate written, oral and non- cate complex concepts and ideas to a range of
ideas technical information and con- verbal communication strategies and formats. specialist and non-specialist audiences using a
cepts to workplace audiences. range of communication strategies.
Qualification AQF 7/EQF 6 AQF 8/EQF 6 AQF 9/EQF 7
Example Bachelor in OHS Graduate Diploma in OHS Master in OHS
qualifications NEBOSH Diploma

Hazard types managed by the OHS Professional
and required underlying science
I n different countries there are different profes-
sional groups which have traditionally divided
up the role of advising on OHS in differing ways.
Professionals and others which are either so
industry-specific that they tend to be dealt with
in specialist modules of OHS education. Hazards
It is the position of this document that the OHS may also be seen as more peripheral to that core
Professional is the generalist in this area, poten- area and requiring expertise that may be found
tially dealing with the full range of hazards that more in the specialist professions of occupational
the organisation may face. OHS Professionals hygiene, occupational medicine, organisational/
are expected to be familiar with a core range of occupational psychology, ergonomics, fire protec-
hazards, including their behaviour, methods of tion or other related specialisations. In such cases
causing harm and required controls. However, the role of the OHS Professional may be to liaise
the scope of hazards actually dealt with by any with one or more of those professional special-
given OHS Professional will vary depending on ists for more complex problems or ones requiring
the organisation, the industry and the geographi- deeper knowledge.
cal location. The education and professional
development of OHS Professionals should equip The following table lists the hazards that an OHS
them to give this broad-based advice, based on Professional could be expected to manage. It uses
the principles of hazard and risk control which the energy categorization developed by Haddon
are generic. The specificity of any given hazard as its basis. It reflects the origins of OHS Profes-
can be tackled by the use of the literature and sionals in technological disciplines and machinery
evidence base to tailor that generic knowledge hazards, with a later, but fairly universal move to
to the specifics of the risk, even if it has not been include chemical and working environment haz-
covered explicitly in the professional’s OHS ards. Some countries have seen a move also into
education. That said, there will be hazards which psychosocial and/or environmental hazards.
are more in the core of the knowledge of all OHS

OHS Professionals
are expected to be
familiar with a core
range of hazards,
including their
behaviour, methods
of causing harm and
required controls.

The OHS Professional needs to understand the principles and practice of prevention and control
nature of the hazards, their modes of entry to, or (technical, behavioural and organisational) rel-
effect on the body (and mind) of potential victims evant to each of the hazards in the core of the OHS
and on the physical environment, their mecha- Professional’s role for a particular organisation,
nisms of harm to people and other assets (includ- country or jurisdiction. These constitute the un-
ing exacerbating circumstances, e.g. lone working, derpinning science related to each of the various
pregnancy, etc.). They also need to understand risk hazards. This document does not give the detail of
assessment and measurement methods and the that underpinning science.

Hazards about which an OHS professional may be expected

to have the knowledge and skills to advise management
Gravitational Moving plant/vehicles & occupational road use
Falls from height Specialized technical & construction hazards
Falling objects, lifting equipment Subsidence and collapse
Slips, trips, falls on level and stairs Structural failure
Biomechanical Psychosocial hazards28
Manual lifting/handling Workload/stress
Postural (incl. seating) Fatigue
Repetitive strain Impacts on wellness
Electrical Bullying and harassment
Chemical Aggression (people/animals)
Toxic, carcinogenic, teratogenic and corrosive Violence at work
chemicals, fibres and dusts Special work environments
Nanoparticles Confined spaces (incl. asphyxiant atmospheres)
Sensitizing agents (for asthma, dermatitis) Drowning/diving
Fire and explosion Higher than atmospheric pressure
Thermal environment Computer/monitor screen including control
Heat and cold rooms
Hot work Biological hazards (incl. occupational pathogens)
Noise Infectious diseases
Vibration (whole body & hand/arm) Indoor air quality
Equipment under pressure/pressure vessels Ionizing radiation
Powered plant Non-ionizing radiation (including lasers, UV, radio
Flying objects ejected from machinery processes frequency, etc.)
Entanglement in moving parts of static machin- Hazards of the natural environment (earthquake,
ery, (incl. robots) flooding, storm, tornado, etc.)29
Use of portable power tools
Process control
Design and operating limits
Loss of human and computer control
Human error

28 The degree of involvement of OHS Professionals with the control of psycho-social differs from country to country. The degree of
involvement will govern how much knowledge is required under these headings.
29 The degree of involvement of OHS Professionals with the control of environmental hazards differs from country to country. The degree
of involvement will govern how much knowledge is required under these headings.

INSHPO is the global voice for the occupational health and safety profession and
acts as a forum for international collaboration among professional organisations to
improve health and safety at work.