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History of WHS Qualifications

In Australia, you will hear the Work Health and Safety (WHS) industry also referred to as the OHS industry – Occupational Health and Safety. It can be very confusing, so we thought we’d give you an explanation.

In 2012, the Commonwealth led the way with a national harmonisation of Work Health and Safety laws. Following that, all the States and Territories signed on with the exception of Western Australia and Victoria. In those States, you will see Work Health and Safety referred to as occupational health and safety.

Regardless of which State or Territory you are in, the nationally recognised qualifications in the field all have Work Health and Safety in the title – not occupational health and safety.

Since 2007, there have been three iterations of the Work Health and Safety qualifications. Reviews of qualifications are a normal activity in Australia.

We’ll use the Diploma level to explain.
  • BSB51307 Diploma of Occupational Health and Safety – dating back to 2007. This is now deemed a superseded qualification.
  • BSB51312 Diploma of Work Health and Safety – which was released in December 2012 and varied significantly from the Diploma of Occupational Health and Safety. This means the national regulator deemed that the BSB51307 was not equivalent to the BSB51312, meaning people who held the older qualification could no longer be recognised as competent in the most current standard of skills and knowledge.
  • BSB51315 Diploma of Work Health and Safety was released in March 2015, and superseded BSB51312. However, BSB51312 was deemed equivalent to the latest iteration of this qualification. This means that content of both the BSB51312 and BSB51315 are deemed to address the same skills and knowledge.

Consultation began in 2018 for a review of the Work Health and Safety qualifications. It is to be expected that in the next year or so, there will be another update to the Work Health and Safety qualifications.

Churchill always updates our Alumni on any changes to qualifications, and regularly sends out industry updates to interested people through our newsletters.

You can view our WHS qualifications here.

If you are not currently a Churchill client, but would like to stay informed regarding any future changes to WHS qualifications, you can subscribe here.


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