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NZSC Diploma of Occupational Safety & Health

Minimum Standard for a Safety Professional in New Zealand working as a Safety Adviser or [Associate Safety Professional ~ NZSC grading]

Also required: three years proven experience as an OSH practitioner. Must have passed all ten, Level 5 Diploma Competency Standards, as listed below, either by assessment of current competency, or undertaking a course of study and completing work related projects:

Competency One ~ Understanding the Legal Framework of New Zealand

This unit describes the outcomes required to demonstrate an understanding of the legal and regulatory framework of OSH in New Zealand. Candidates will demonstrate provision of advice regarding the OSH legislative responsibilities of an OSH practitioner, company director, manager, supervisor and employee.

Competency Two ~ Emergency Planning and Response

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to Plan for Emergencies and implement emergency response procedures.

Competency Three ~ Demonstrate a systematic approach to managing Occupational Safety & Health [OSH] in the workplace.

Competencies include: (a) understanding the strategies, policies and procedures necessary to systematically manage all facets of an OSH Program and (b) measuring and evaluating all facets of organisational performance, to ensure that the workplace is, as far as practicable, safe and healthy, with the risk exposures to employees and other stakeholders As Low As reasonably Practical [ALARP].

Competency Four ~ Demonstrate management of OSH information and data systems

To provide necessary information and performance data (including technical and legal information) to inform management and other stakeholders of OSH issues.

Candidates must also show ability to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of OSH Systems by accessing and providing OSH information, collecting, collating and analysing data and ensuring that this information and data is distributed throughout the workplace in timely and regular intervals.

Competency Five ~ Demonstrate participation in the design and development of OSH participative arrangements. 

Show involvement with the consultative design, development, implementation, monitoring and reviewing practices, with employees and others in OSH activities and decision making.

This unit standard also takes into account the responsibilities for managing OSH, as well as participative consultation and communication processes within an organisation or business unit.

Competency Six ~ Demonstrate the application of the principles of OSH Risk Management

In providing a generic approach to both identifying hazards and assessing and controlling OSH risks. This standard addresses the underlying knowledge and skills required to provide a systematic approach to hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control.

The emphasis is on eliminating risk or, where this is not possible, minimising and mitigating risk through other means.

Competency Seven ~Demonstrate the identification and management of hazards in the work environment through the assessment and control of risks.

This includes knowledge of the eleven energies* and focuses on the processes and techniques necessary to control specific hazards. Hazards may involve the potential of uncontrolled energies including: *gravity [falls from heights], kinetic, electrical [includes light energy which is carried as an electromagnetic radiation, mechanical, chemical [hazardous substances, dangerous goods], dusts and fibres,), thermal environment, pressure, acoustic, [noise and vibration], radiation, [four types: alpha, beta, gamma, and X Ray radiation]. Neutron radiation as encountered in nuclear power plants, high-altitude flight and emitted from some industrial radioactive sources, biomechanical hazards [e.g. manual handling ~ pushing, pulling, carrying and lifting], microbiological [fungi, viruses, bacteria] or psychosocial hazards and/or hazards arising from general work environment and other processes.

Competency Eight ~ Demonstrate the Management of Hazards associated with plant.

Identify specific requirements required to meet OSH legal compliance in relation to workplace plant and equipment. These obligations are based on the Australian Standard for Safety of machinery, AS 4024 1-2006, which is the foundation for compliance with occupational safety and health legislation. Note: other standards also apply e.g. various electrical and mechanical standards. See also: for further guidance on machine safety.

Competency Nine ~ Demonstrate the ability to apply the prevention principles of Occupational Health** to control OSH Risks.

Test candidate’s ability to apply OSH principles to control occupational health risk(s) in the workplace. Occupational health professionals seek to identify chemicals and other substances that have the potential for interference with the body's normal energy exchange, metabolism or physiology.

Note: ** Occupational Health ~ is devoted to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control of those factors or stresses, arising in or from the workplace processes, which may cause sickness, impaired health and wellbeing, or significant discomfort and inefficiency.

Competency Ten ~ Demonstrate participation in the investigation of incidents and accidents*.      

[An *accident is an unplanned event in which damage or injury occurs because of a contact with a source of energy above the threshold limit of the body or structure]

Understand the principle and methodology of ‘Systems’ Failure Analysis. [SFA] e.g. being able to identify Root Causes using Fault Tree Analysis or other systems such as Tripod, SCAT, Triadic Flawed Analysis or ICAMS.

Has demonstrated the ability to lead teams conducting investigations into the reporting of incidents/accidents that have resulted in, or have the potential to result in, injury to people, damage to property, plant, equipment or the environment.


Is it Worth The Risk?                                      

There is ongoing discussion about the continuing number of Fatalities and Serious Injuries throughout New Zealand workplaces. Many people have died in work-related accidents in New Zealand workplaces and this shocking state of affairs, leads to the question “what was the cause”?

To many Health & Safety professionals reading the accident investigation reports, it becomes obvious that the problem stems from underestimating the degree of Risk before carrying out a task.

Before commencing any task, there is a need to think about what we are attempting to do and assess the level of risk involved. 


A Hazard is something having the potential to cause harm; whereas 


Risk is the likelihood of being injured by a specific Hazard. 


This lack of planning and poor perception of Risk is the undoing of many managers and supervisors and may be fatal for their employees.

Better Risk Assessments will be made when three things happen:

1) Competency training is given for all tasks to ensure that each individual has the knowledge and skills to carry out a specific task; and

2) Basic Rules have been agreed on what can or cannot be done; and

3) There is a simple system [for each hazard], that when followed, reduces the Risk to what is acceptable.

People involved in serious accidents often say afterwards “I thought something was wrong” but allowed getting the job done, or pressure from another person to override their concerns.

If you have any concern for your health and safety or the health and safety of others, check out the situation. Two minutes of checking if you do have a ‘Safe System of Work ‘ could save your life or avoid lifelong regret for the victim.