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Health and safety people work across a wide vertical strata within companies, from the work done at the coalface amongst workers to sustain OHS practices and systems through to lower and middle management, and up to senior executive health and safety people reporting to Chief Execs, MD’s or directly to Boards. This requires diverse skills and knowledge at differing levels. Today, these role definitions have been identified in the OHS Global Framework for Practice adopted by more than 20 country’s professional associations. The framework describes and defines the knowledge and skill requirements at each of six levels: 3 practitioner levels and 3 professional levels (one of which is a Chartered professional level).

The Australian OHS Profession Certification program is articulated against these: OHS practitioner, OHS professional and Chartered OHS professional.  To be certified, you need to have a minimum amount of demonstrated work experience at the level you are applying, confirmed by referees.

What level am I (or have been) working at?   

See the OHS Global framework for Practice for more details.

OHS Practitioner

Common titles – OHS Advisor / OHS Officer / OHS Coordinator

OHS Practitioners are implementers of strategy and actions usually designed by an OHS Professional. They support a safe working environment by maintaining OHS administrative processes, conducting basic training and using a range of state of the art tools, processes and standard practice solutions to OHS risks and their management, particularly aimed at routine and well-known processes and work. They oversee and drive monitoring and compliance in relation to technical and behavioural risk controls. They are likely to have a focus on the workplace and the organisation’s primary processes and communicate predominantly at middle management, supervisor and shop-floor levels. They usually work under supervision or mentoring (which may be indirect) focused on known contexts within established parameters. Within those parameters they have substantial personal responsibility for the planning and quality of their own work.’

How much experience do I need for OHS practitioner certification?

You will need to have worked at practitioner level for at least 3 years equivalent full-time.

OHS Professional

Common title - OHS Manager or similar

OHS Professionals are designers of strategy relating to the organisation and management of OHS within the wider context of business processes and the external regulatory, market and societal influences. They are influential and involved in problem solving and organisational review and change as advisers and consultants. Their advice is based on conceptual and technical knowledge of design and operations, mediated by experience, analysis of evidence and critical thought, enabling them to extend their understanding and control to novel, unknown and complex risks and their controls. They understand how to access, use, critically evaluate and develop the evidence base and they value professional collaboration. They are likely to work solo or give direction to others.

How much experience do I need for OHS professional certification?

Depending on your education, you will need to have worked at OHS professional level for either at least 3 years equivalent full-time or 5+ years full-time.

Chartered OHS Professional  

Common titles: Group Manager / General Manager / National Manager Safety, Health, (Environment)

A Chartered OHS Professional in addition to the role, knowledge and skills of the OHS profession, the Chartered Professional is a person with high level specialist skills in a specific area and/or high-level strategic skills. They are likely to be a designer of strategy and influential with senior management and/or policy makers. Their perspective embraces leading-edge thinking in OHS and takes account of the broader organisational and social context of their advice. 

How much work experience do I need for Chartered OHS professional certification?

10 years FT organisational experience (including 5 years equivalent FT in OHS which includes 3+ years at a senior OHS management level).