6 December 2009

Stereotypes about Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) being a ‘boring’ profession are being challenged, thanks to a DVD that is being shown at Queensland schools.

The five-minute DVD was produced and funded by the Safety Institute of Australia for UQ’s Faculty of Health Sciences to promote UQ’s new OH&S degree, which starts in 2010.

Career transition co-ordinator Ben Powell said he felt the DVD would help “break down the stereotypes” associated with OH&S.

“I received some feedback from one teacher who said the students were surprised by the number of areas involved in OH&S,” he said.

Mr Powell said the “colourful, bright, energetic” presentation was likely to catch the attention of year 11 and 12 students.

“A lot of students think that OH&S is a boring and narrow job, but this DVD shows there is quite a lot of variety and importance with jobs in OH&S,” he said.

The images flash across the scene in a fast-paced and exciting video, showing OH&S officers operating in a wide variety of worksites — from mines to Movie World.

Professor of Occupational Health and Safety Mike Capra said he believed the four-year degree would be attractive to students wanting to apply science in realistic situations.

“A lot of students like science but do not want to spend their lives working in a lab,” Professor Capra said.
In addition to the many science subjects that are included in the OH&S degree, students will also study areas including psychology and law.

Professor Capra said the job prospects and starting salaries in the OH&S area would motivate students to sign up for next year’s course.

“There is a shortage of OH&S professionals in Australia and the starting salary is between $50,000 and $70,000,” he said.

Media: Professor Mike Capra, telephone 07 3346 4764/3381 1468/3346 7765