Last Updated S012019


Unit Code MSR503
Unit Duration 1 Term (online) or 1 Semester (on-campus)

Graduate Diploma of Engineering (Safety, Risk and Reliability)

Duration: 1 year

Master of Engineering (Safety, Risk and Reliability)

Duration: 2 years  

Year Level One
Unit Creator / Reviewer Raj Sreenevasan / Mark Andrew
Core/Elective: Core
Pre/Co-requisites Nil
Credit Points


Grad Dip total course credit points = 24 (3 credits x 8 (units))

Masters total course credit points = 48 (12 credits (Thesis) + 3 credits x 12 (units))

Mode of Delivery

Online or on-campus.

Combination of modes: Online synchronous lectures; asynchronous discussion groups, videos, remote and cloud-based labs (simulations); web and video conferencing tutorials. High emphasis on personal and group self-study.

Unit Workload

Total student workload including “contact hours”=10 hours per week:

Lecture – 1 hour

Tutorial Lecture - 1 hour

Practical / Lab - 1 hour (if applicable)

Personal Study recommended - 7 hours

Unit Description and General Aims

The unit introduces engineers to health, safety and operating environment of an organization. Changing societal expectations are forcing governments around the world to update their regulations. It is no longer sufficient for industries to adhere to voluntary codes and practices (self regulation) unless the voluntary codes exceed societal expectations.

The scientific approach to accident prevention recognizes that there is usually a multi factored chain of events leading to the accident. Effective injury prevention strategies must address human factors in the injury chain – the host (person), the energy source (machine design or natural force such as gravity) and the operating environment.

The underlying premise for Sweden’s ‘Vision Zero’ road safety philosophy is that “no foreseeable accident should be more severe than the tolerance of the human in order not to receive an injury that causes long term health loss”.

The other two ethical principles include:

  • Life and health can never be exchanged for other benefits within the society
  • Whenever someone is killed or seriously injured, necessary steps must be taken to avoid similar incidents in the future

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students are expected to be able to:

1. Apply and integrate the knowledge and principles of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) with the practical skills required to prevent injuries and occupational diseases in the workplace

2. Apply logical and rational processes to critically analyse issues relevant to OHS

3. Improve the safety culture in workplaces

4. Educate and promote health and safety in the workplace in relation to individuals, families, the community and environment

5. Recognize the global nature of OHS issues and be familiar with relevant international standards

Student assessment

Assessment Type

(e.g. Assignment - 2000 word essay (specify topic) Examination (specify length and format))

When assessed

(eg Week 5)

Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Quiz

Word length: n/a

Topic: Assessment on fundamental concepts of Workplace Heath and Safety.

week 5 20% 1, 2, 3

Assessment 2 - mid-semester test

Type: Report (Midterm Project)

[This will include a progress report; literature review, hypothesis, and methodology / conclusions]

Word length: 1000

Topic: Energy source identification and Control Measures selection.   

Week 8 25% 1, 2 3, 4

Assessment 3

Type: Report (Final Project)

[If a continuation of the midterm, this should complete the report by adding sections on: methodology, implementation / evaluation, verification / validation, conclusion / challenges and recommendations / future work. If this is a new report, all headings from the midterm and the final reports must be included.]

Word length: 2000

Topic: Example “OHS Management Systems – A brief review of international standards and approaches, and a consolidation of key similarities and differences. Taking into account factors such as OHS management systems elements such as Policy, Performance Measurement, Risk Assessment, Control Adequacy setting, Closed Loop Learning, Audit and Reporting methods, Workforce consultation etc.”   

Week 12 35% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Practical Participation

Case study TBA by instructor.     

Continuous 15% 3

Class Participation


Continuous 5% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


Prescribed and Recommended readings

Suggested Textbook

 L. J. DiBerardinis, Handbook of Occupational Safety and Health, 2 nd Ed (International Edition), New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Perrow C. 1999.


D. Koradecka, Handbook of Occupational Safety and Health, CRC Press, 2010  


Reference Materials

  • Investigating accidents and incidents, HSE Books (HSG245)
  • C. W. Johnson, A handbook of Accident and Incident reporting
  • M. Tooma, Safety, Security, Health and Environment Law
  • S. Dekker, The field guide to understanding human error, Aldershot Ashgate
  • S. Dekker, Safety Differently – Human factors for a new era, CRC Press
  • M. Speegle, Safety, Health and Environmental Concepts for the Process Industry, 2nd Ed
  • Other material advised during the lectures

Unit Content

One topic is delivered per contact week, with the exception of part-time 24-week units, where one topic is delivered every two week


Topic 1 and 2

Occupational Health and Safety Management in the Workplace

1. Organisational OHS policies and OHS statute laws

2. Management’s roles and responsibilities in an effective workplace safety and health program, including the ‘management systems’ approach

3. Recognition of health hazards in the workplace

4. Legal Labour Protection under relevant OHS regulation

5. Duty of care, ALARP / ALARA / SFAIRP / SFARP (Australia / UK / Canada)

6. Psychosocial risk in the workplace and its reduction

7. OSHA 29 CFR 1910 (USA) for comparison of different methods used in different countries



Topic 3 and 4

Basic Hazards in the Work Environment

1. Uncontrolled energy releases – a useful framework

2. Harmful chemical agents

3. Vibroacoustics, static electricity and electromagnetic hazards

4. Electric lighting for indoor workplaces

5. Radiation – ionising, laser, noncoherent optical etc.

6. Mechanical hazards

7. Biological agents and occupational dermatoses

8. Indoor air quality and heat stress

9. Occupational noise exposure and hearing conversation

10. Ergonomics

11. Work-home interfaces: e.g. travel, drugs & alcohol, fatigue

12. Dusts (asbestos, silicosis causing particles)




Topic 5

The Effects of Hazards on Work Processes

1. Occupational diseases

2. Accidents and incidents at work

3. Reportable injuries to the regulator

4. Major industrial accidents

5. Managing workers’ compensation

6. Employee counselling support


Topic 6 and 7

Health and Safety Evaluations

1. The value of incident investigation on learning and continual improvement

2. Behavioural safety studies 3. Risk assessment techniques

4. Evaluation of exposure to chemicals

5. Evaluation and management of exposure to infectious diseases

6. Biological monitoring

7. Management acceptance and buy-in of investigation


Topic 8 and 9

Control Practices

1. Hazard communication and workers right-to-know program

2. How to establish industrial loss prevention and environmental protection

3. Health and safety instruction

4. Personal health and mental wellbeing of employees

5. Philosophy and management of engineering control and administrative controls

6. How to select and use personal protective equipment

7. Respiratory and audio protective devices

8. Shaping the safety and ergonomics of machinery in the process of design and use

9. Education in the occupational safety and ergonomics

10. Shift work (day-shift / night-shift - separate to FIFO), fatigue management and rosters




Topic 10

OHS Regulations and International OHS Management Standard

1. Australian OHS Regulation – Harmonized model

2. US Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Regulation

3. International Labour Organisation (ILO) Regulatory Model

4. EU Regulation

5. ISO 45001- New Global OHS Management System


Topic 11 and 12

Project and Unit Review In the final two weeks students will have an opportunity to review the contents covered so far. Opportunity will be provided for a review of student work and to clarify any outstanding issues. Instructors/facilitators may choose to cover a specialized topic if applicable to that cohort.

Project – due at end of term