PUB HLTH 7113 - Environmental and Occupational Health

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

This course aims to introduce a range of environmental factors, which may pose a risk to the health of human populations. It also addresses risk assessment and management methods for evaluating and controlling such risks. A variety of diseases associated with exposure to common occupational and environmental factors will be discussed. In addition, there will be an overview of the historical, legislative and administrative aspects of occupational health.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PUB HLTH 7113
    Course Environmental and Occupational Health
    Coordinating Unit Public Health
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Online - Internal mode depending on numbers
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Available to Grad Cert, Grad Dip, MPH students only
    Assessment Tutorial assignments, essays
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Dino Pisaniello

    Course Coordinator: Dino Pisaniello
    Phone: +61 83133571
    Location: Level 8, Hughes Building

    Learning and Teaching Team
    Phone: +61 8 8313 2128
    Location: Level 7, 178 North Terrace
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Describe the nature of environmental health hazards and the ways in which they impinge upon communities and occupational groups.
    2 Outline the types of factors that influence the distribution of health disorders, within an exposed population.
    3 Explain “risk” as a central concept in describing, evaluating and managing EOH problems.
    4 Describe the roles and relationships of key disciplines (including epidemiology, toxicology, occupational and environmental hygiene and ergonomics) in the prevention, investigation and management of EOH problems.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-4
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1, 2, 4
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 3, 4
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 4
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 3, 4
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    A CD of learning materials will be issued. Specific readings will also be provided on MyUni.
    Recommended Resources
    1. Cromar, N., Cameron, S., Fallowfield, H. (2004) Environmental Health in Australia and New Zealand Oxford University Press, Melbourne ISBN 0 19 551004 6). Available for purchase from UniBooks and for loan from the Barr Smith Library

    2. Department of Health and Aging, enHealth Council (2012) Environmental Health Risk Assessment – Guidelines for Assessing Human Health Risks from Environmental Hazards (Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra)
    Web download for this document is at: 0001F9E7D/$File/DoHA-EHRA-120910.pdf

    3. Reed S, Pisaniello D, Benke G, Burton K. (2013) Principles of Occupational Health and Hygiene – An Introduction. Allen and Unwin ISBN 978-1-74331-129-5
    Online Learning
    This is an online course via MyUni. Here you will see Announcements related to the course and Discussion Boards where you will submit tutorial responses and conduct discussions with your fellow students.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    As an online course much of the contact you have with fellow students and staff will be via MyUni You will be assigned to an online discussion group to which you will submit your answers to tutorial questions. Following submission of your assignment there is a period where you will have the opportunity to read, and provide constructive comment, on the work of your fellow Discussion Group members. Participants in this course have a wide range of backgrounds and this is your opportunity to gain an insight into different problem-solving perspectives (and remember your contribution is assessable).

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This means that, for this course, you are expected to commit approximately 12 hours per week to private study.

    Lectures, demonstrations and field activities for locally-based students may offered during the Semester, as a supplement to the online learning. Students are encouraged to attend where possible.
    Learning Activities Summary
    While this is an on-line course a series of supplementary lectures may be offered for locally-based students who are able to attend.

    The course is set up in two major sections, namely occupational health (4 modules) and environmental health (3 modules). Each section includes two tutorials and one assignment which are to be submitted online by the due date.

    The tutorials are submitted into the relevant Classroom (Electronic Discussion Board). Your commentary on other participants’ assignments is also submitted to the Discussion Board. You will note that from the due date for lodgement of each assignment, a further period is allowed for you to make commentary on what other participants have said.

    You can also conduct informal discussion with other participants in Cafeteria. Submissions to the
    Cafeteria are not assessable.

    Hazard Management; Disease Causation; OHS Legislation

    Hazardous Substances; Health Surveillance and Biological Monitoring

    Occupational Noise; Ionising Radiation; Non Ionising Radiation

    Musculoskeletal Disease ; Occupational Stress; Heat Stress

    Introduction to EHRA

    Air Quality; Food Quality; Water Quality; Infectious Disease

    MODULE CONTENT (to be confirmed) Waste Management ; Soil Contamination; Global Environmental Health
    Specific Course Requirements
    Small Group Discovery Experience
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning Outcome(s) being addressed
    Tutorial 1 - mini assignment
    Tutorial 2 - mini assignment


    1, 2, 4

    1, 2, 4
    Major OH Assignment Summative 25% 1-4
    Tutorial 3 - mini assignment
    Tutorial 4 - mini assignment



    1, 2, 4
    Major EH Assignment Summative 25% 1-4
    Participation Formative & Summative 10% 1-4
    Assessment Related Requirements

    The tutorials provide an opportunity to respond to challenging questions and to comment on the responses of other students. You are encouraged to make comments - indeed you are required to make at least 10 comments during the semester.


    Your responses are to be submitted as a Word document attachment uploaded to the relevant discussion board on MyUni. It is advisable to write some free text commentary or preface to your submission in the text box. You can download other student’s responses by clicking on the relevant attachment relating to the individual response.

    The comments that you make on other students work can be typed directly into the text box unless you wish to attach some supporting information.

    NOTE: Please label the attachment as student name tutorialnumber.doc (e.g. FredSmithtutorial1.doc), and don’t forget to put your name on the document itself. Please do not submit PDF documents.

    The tutorial topics relate to:





    The questions will be suitable for high level discussion and adult learning. They will draw upon the experiences and perspectives of the students and staff.

    Word length: about 500 words (no more than 600)
    Assessment Detail
    Major Assignments:

    There are two major assignments, one for Occupational Health and one for Environmental Health. Assignments relate to a topic of your choice, but you must use the Occupational Health Hazard management paradigm in addressing the first topic and the Environmental Health Risk Assessment paradigm in addressing the second topic.

    The EnHealth 2012 document provides a very detailed description of the paradigm for Environmental Health Risk Assessment.

    1. GUIDELINES for the Major Assignment in Occupational Health (25%)

    Using the OHS management framework presented in the first half of this course and the skills learnt in the tutorials, the task is to report on a hazard in a workplace of your choice. If you have a part time job, you might want to relate this assignment to your workplace.
    If you cannot easily visit a workplace, please contact the coordinator, who will assign a workplace or workplace topic for you.

    The assignment should consist of:

    (i) A brief description of the industry, processes, tasks, equipment and workgroup (up to 400 words).

    (ii) An overview of the nature of the hazard and the potential health effects which may arise from exposure, as described in the scientific literature. (up to 400 words)
    You should outline the strategy you adopted in searching the literature (up to 100 words)

    (iii) How the risk is assessed. (up to 500 words)

    (iv) The practicalities of controlling the hazard. (up to 400 words)

    (v) A critical overview of the problem e.g. In your opinion, are problems such as these being assessed and managed adequately at present? What research, if any, is called for? (up to 200 words)

    (vi) References. Presented in standard format. e.g. Author, Date. The written presentation is aimed to test your report-writing skills.

    It should not exceed 2000 words in length (excluding the references). Inclusion of photographs and diagrams is encouraged but is not compulsory (some workplaces may not permit photos to be taken). Jargon should be kept to a minimum but where necessary, should be thoroughly explained.

    If you have any doubts as to whether your choice is appropriate please discuss your proposed topic with the course coordinator.

    Important: This assignment is designed to promote your understanding of how to search the scientific literature, interpret exposure levels in relation to standards and how to write a report of a professional standard. It is expected that students will have conducted a search using Medline (PubMed) or Scopus.

    2. GUIDELINES for the Major Assignment in Environmental Health (25%)

    Using the Environmental Health Risk Assessment framework presented in the second half of this course and an environmental health issue of your choice, provide:

    (i) A brief description of environmental health issue (up to 500 words).

    (ii) An overview of the nature of the hazard and the potential human health effects which may arise from exposure, as described in the scientific literature (up to 500 words).. You should outline the strategy you adopted in searching the literature (up to 100 words)

    (iii) How the risk is assessed. (up to 500 words).

    (iv) The practicalities of controlling the risk and managing the hazard. (up to 500 words).

    (v) References.

    You should structure the report along the lines of the Risk Paradigm presented in the enHealth EHRA report, i.e. Issue & Hazard Identification, Exposure Assessment, Risk Characterization, Risk Management and Communication.

    Expected length: 2000 words.

    If you have any doubts as to whether your choice of environmental health issue is appropriate please discuss your proposed topic with the course coordinator.
    Note: There is no need for any field visits.

    Tutorial Mini Assignments:

    In addition to the major assignments, there are two mini assignments related to Occupational Health and two mini assignments related to Environmental Health.

    Word length: about 500 words (no more than 600)
    Major assignments should be submitted electronically to the Course Coordinator, or as otherwise instructed. You should retain a copy of the assignment submitted. Assignments will not be accepted by other means unless there are exceptional circumstances.

    Policy on Lateness and Extensions

    The Discipline of Public Health reserves the right to refuse to accept an assignment that is more than 7 days late. Please adhere to the set dates for submitted work to facilitate class discussion and feedback.
    Extensions must be requested, at the latest, by the last working day before the due date of submission. They will generally be granted only on medical and genuine compassionate grounds. Only the course coordinator, or a person authorised by him or her, may grant extensions.
    Lateness: marks will be deducted when assignments for which no extension has been granted are submitted late.Marks will be deducted from the mark (awarded on merit) at the rate of 5% per day.


    Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty that amounts to theft or fraud. It is the unacknowledged use of the thoughts or writings of another person, as if they are one's own. This may occur as a result of deliberate misuse of another person's work, or through ignorance or inexperience about the correct way to acknowledge other work. Plagiarism includes presenting information or paraphrasing ideas from books, articles, etc. or other students' work, without clear identification of the source through proper use of referencing; and quoting directly from a source, without indicating that it is a direct quote.
    This is considered an extremely serious matter, which may lead to failure of an assignment, or even suspension from University.

    The University of Adelaide has a policy on plagiarism that can be viewed at
    You should be aware that any of your submitted assessment work may be submitted for electronic checking of plagiarism. Turnitin ( is an online plagiarism prevention service. You should check your drafts of your major assignments via Turnitin (see the Assignments section on MyUni), prior to submission.

    Policy on Unsatisfactory Progress

    Unsatisfactory Academic Progress by Coursework Students Policy

    Guidance on length of assignments

    Although we encourage students to submit assignments that demonstrate their understanding of the topic, the length of assignments should be within the expected word length. Being succinct is an important skill. A penalty of 10% of the mark (awarded on merit) may apply in the case of an obvious breach of this guidance.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    High Distinction Distinction Credit Pass Fail
    General description Outstanding or exceptional work in terms of understanding, interpretation and presentation A very high standard of work which demonstrates originality and insight Demonstrates a high level of understanding and presentation and a degree of originality and insight Satisfies the minimum requirements Fails to satisfy the minimum requirements
    Reading Strong evidence of independent reading beyond core texts and materials Evidence of reading beyond core texts and materials Thorough understanding of core texts and materials Evidence of having read core texts and materials Very little evidence of having read any of the core texts and materials
    Knowledge of topic Demonstrates insight, awareness and understanding of deeper and more subtle aspects of the topic. Ability to consider topic in the broader context of the discipline Evidence of an awareness and understanding of deeper and more subtle aspects of the topic Sound knowledge of principles and concepts Knowledge of principles and concepts at least adequate to communicate intelligently in the topic and to serve as a basis for further study Scant knowledge of principles and concepts
    Articulation of argument Demonstrates imagination or flair. Demonstrates originality and independent thought Evidence of imagination or flair. Evidence of originality and independent thought Well-reasoned argument based on broad evidence Sound argument based on evidence Very little evidence of ability to construct coherent argument
    Analytical and evaluative skills Highly developed analytical and evaluative skills Clear evidence of analytical and evaluative skills Evidence of analytical and evaluative skills Some evidence of analytical and evaluative skills Very little evidence of analytical and evaluative skills
    Problem solving Ability to solve very challenging problems Ability to solve non-routine problems Ability to use and apply fundamental concepts and skills Adequate problem-solving skills Very little evidence of problem-solving skills
    Expression and presentation appropriate to discipline Highly developed skills in expression and presentation. Well developed skills in expression and presentation. Good skills in expression and presentation. Accurate and consistent acknowledge-ment of sources. Adequate skills in expression and presentation. Rudimentary skills in expression and presentation. Inaccurate and inconsistent acknowledgement of sources.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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