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Edith Cowan University now offering occupational hygiene qualifications to New Zealand students

Thursday, 08 October 2020


Edith Cowan University (ECU), in conjunction with New Zealand Occupational Hygiene Society (NZOHS), Health and Safety Association of New Zealand (HASANZ) and Massey and Otago Universities, announced this week that the Master of Occupational Hygiene and Toxicology will be available to New Zealand (NZ) students to support workplace development of the health and safety workforce in NZ.  This is in response to a recent report, Building the Professions HASANZ Health and Safety Workforce Pipeline Report published in 2019, which identified gaps in the NZ workforce and highlighted the lack of occupational hygienists in NZ. The report states that in 2018 there were 32 fully qualified occupational hygienists and 17 technicians. This is less than many comparable countries, and about half Australia’s per capita number. The report goes on to say that there are many challenges to develop accessible education, training and professional development pathways to meet current and future demands.

Professor Amanda Devine, Associate Dean Public Health and Occupational Health and Safety at ECU, is keen to work with HASANZ to build the workforce of the future and grow the number of occupational hygienists through the accredited online course at ECU. Professor Devine says, “The ECU Master of Occupational Hygiene and Toxicology is accredited by both the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygiene (AIOH) and British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), which means NZ graduates can work in Australia, NZ and internationally and will be sought after, as the course prepares work ready and world ready graduates”.

The program is mostly offered online to allow New Zealand students to study at home.  Three-day compulsory practical workshops will supplement the learning for three hygiene technical units.  These workshops provide real world experience for students to develop practical skills needed in the assessment of workplace hazards that can harm human health. These activities could include monitoring hazards such as noise, radiation, dust, gases, and biological contaminants that people are exposed to every day.

Associate Professor Sue Reed, Director Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety, and a Certified Occupational Hygienist (COH)® says, “It is important that each country develops their own training program for professional occupational hygienists. Many people don’t realise the role that occupational hygienists play in protecting both the workforce and the general community from adverse impacts on their health from chemical and biological hazards such as mould, issues related to bacterial and virus transmission, and physical hazards such as noise, vibration, heat, cold and both ionising and non-ionising radiation”.

ECU is keen to support NZ efforts to train their workforce to the extent that the university will be offering an online summer school unit this December for Otago and Massey university students. ECU is working with the two universities to get their own accredited course up and running and is advocating to the NZ government for scholarships to assist NZ students achieve their goals of becoming an occupational hygienist.

For more information about the course

Edith Cowan University contact - Discipline Leader: Master of Occupational Hygiene and Toxicology Associate Professor Sue Reed, +61 (8) 6304 2243 or 0438 243 412


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