The Australian Institute of Health & Safety (AIHS) recognizes the importance of developing competent and qualified professionals in the field of occupational health and safety (OHS). To support this, AIHS offers certification at different levels based on the Global Capability Framework for health and safety professionals.

The Global Capability Framework outlines six levels of work for OHS professionals, ranging from Practitioner 1 to Professional 3, with differing knowledge and skill requirements. AIHS certification levels include Certified OHS Practitioner, Certified OHS Professional, and Chartered OHS Professional.

  1. Certified OHS Practitioners maintain OHS administrative processes, conduct basic training, and oversee monitoring and compliance related to technical and behavioral risk controls. They work under supervision or mentoring, focusing on known contexts within established parameters.
  2. OHS Professionals design OHS strategies in the context of business processes and external influences. They provide advice based on conceptual and technical knowledge, experience, analysis, and critical thinking. They work solo or give direction to others.
  3. Chartered OHS Professionals have high-level specialist or strategic skills and are influential with senior management or policy makers. They consider the broader organizational and social context of their advice.

Some key characteristic differences between OHS Practitioner and OHS Professional area detailed the table below.

OHS Practitioner

OHS Professional

Implementer/executor of strategy and the framework for OHS critical control management

Designer of OHS management strategy and framework for OHS critical risk control management

Communicates predominantly with middle management, supervisor, and shop floor, building relationships as a basis for influence, mentoring, and providing technical advice

Influences senior managers, building relationships as a basis for influence, mentoring, and providing integrated technical and strategic advice

Oversees and drives monitoring and compliance, acting as a local change agent when required

Develops monitoring systems. Involved in organisational review and change management

Supports safe working environment by maintaining administrative processes, conducting training, and using state-of-the-art tools, processes, and standard practice solutions

Considers wider context of business processes and external regulatory, market and societal influences

Advice/action based on technical knowledge, experience, and input by OHS Professionals and other technical advisors

Advice/action based on conceptual and technical knowledge mediated by analysis of evidence, experience and critical thought

Focuses on the organisation’s primary processes operating in known contexts within established parameters

Able to extend his or her understanding and control to novel, unknown and complex risks, and their control

Accesses, evaluates, and uses a broad range of workplace and industry sources of information

Works autonomously within own initiative and responsibility but values professional collaboration

May work with SMEs in well-known hazards or under OHS professional supervision in larger organisations

Usually works in large, complex, and/or high hazard organisations or as a consultant to medium-sized organisations

Usually educated through vocational or technical streams

Usually educated through university or higher education sector


In the past, OHS roles in Australia were either technical compliance officers or management roles, but in recent years, these paths have become less distinct. Health and Safety roles now require effective influencing, engagement, and coaching at all levels of the organization, and OHS professionals are recognized as strategic partners who facilitate the integration of OHS into the overall function of the organization.

The Global Capability Framework provides better definition for the roles and responsibilities of health and safety professionals, ensuring that they are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to carry out their roles effectively and to promote a safer and healthier work environment. By offering certification at different levels based on this framework, AIHS supports the professional development of OHS practitioners, professionals, and chartered professionals, and helps to advance the OHS profession in Australia.