PUB HLTH 7031 - Occupational Hygiene and Ergonomics

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2020

This course is an introduction to practical occupational hygiene and ergonomics. There is broad coverage of chemical and physical hazards and of technologies for evaluation and control. Topics include noise, vibration, thermal stress, shift work, biohazards and toxic chemicals. There will be discussion of exposure standards and the interpretation of hygiene data. There will also be an overview of ergonomics, including consideration of workstation and process design; displays and information systems; biomechanics; anthropometry; and psychological aspects.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PUB HLTH 7031
    Course Occupational Hygiene and Ergonomics
    Coordinating Unit Public Health
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Internal & external mode
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Course Description This course is an introduction to practical occupational hygiene and ergonomics. There is broad coverage of chemical and physical hazards and of technologies for evaluation and control. Topics include noise, vibration, thermal stress, shift work, biohazards and toxic chemicals. There will be discussion of exposure standards and the interpretation of hygiene data. There will also be an overview of ergonomics, including consideration of workstation and process design; displays and information systems; biomechanics; anthropometry; and psychological aspects.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Dino Pisaniello

    Course Coordinator: Prof Dino Pisaniello
    Phone: +61 8313 3571
    Location: OEH Laboratory, 28 Anderson Street, Thebarton

    Student & Program Support Services Hub
    Phone: +61 8313 0273

    Course Timetable

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

    Timetable details are located on MyUni.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    This course builds on the basic principles and concepts in the Introductory Environmental and Occupational Health Course. 

    By the end of the course, each student should be able to:
    1. Apply theoretical frameworks and concepts of occupational hygiene and ergonomics for a variety of common hazardous environments. 
    2. Contextualise professional relationships and team activity in occupational health 
    3. Analyse risk factors and undertake basic risk assessment in selected workplace situations 
    4. Demonstrate skills in the use of common risk assessment tools and equipment in occupational hygiene and ergonomics 
    5. Critically assess existing or proposed interventions 
    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1-3, 5
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Recommended Resources
    A list of recommended resources will be provided on the MyUni course site.

    This includes:

    Reed S, Pisaniello D, Benke G. (2019) Principles of Occupational Health and Hygiene – An Introduction.
    Allen and Unwin 3rd Edition. ISBN 9781760528508. Available from Booktopia.

    Online Learning
    This is a blended course, but can be taken online. MyUni will provide the online learning management system. 

    The course utilises Discussion Boards for asynchronous student-student engagement. Zoom will be used for synchronous activities, including practical demonstrations.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Much of the contact you have with fellow students and staff will be online.

    Online activity is supplemented by field visits and face to face hands-on classroom or laboratory demonstrations.

    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. Students are encouraged to attend face to face activities where possible.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Topic Content
    Introduction to Ergonomics Ergonomics as a Discipline
    Ergonomics Models
    Work related Musculoskeletal Disorders I Hazardous Manual Tasks 
    Anatomy & Biomechanics of the Low Back
    The REBA Tool
    Work related Musculoskeletal Disorders II
    The Upper Limb
    Risk factors
    The RULA Tool
    Introduction to Occupational Hygiene Occupational Hygiene Conceptual Frameworks and Practical Application
    Professional Relationships and Team Activity
    Physical Hazards Risk Factor Analysis and Risk assessment for Physical Hazards, including noise, vibration and thermal factors
    Chemical Hazards Risk Factor Analysis and Risk Assessment for Chemical Hazards
    Environmental and Biological Monitoring Techniques
    Hazard Control Engineering Controls, Administrative Controls and Personal Protective Equipment.
    Critical Assessment of Interventions.

    Microbiological hazards Bioaerosols
    Infection Control
    Indoor environments Work and vision
    Indoor Air Quality, Working from Home, Office environments
    Special topics in Occupational Hygiene Occupational Hygiene for Managers and Supervisors
    Occupational Hygiene Reports

    The course is set up in 10 modules, seven for occupational hygiene and three for ergonomics

    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 Task Type Weighting Learning Outcome
    Ergonomics Exercises
    · The Ergonomics Model
    · Ergonomics Tools



    Occupational Hygiene Quiz Summative 20% 1,3,5
    Physical and Chemical Hazard Exercises
    Hazard Control Exerccies



    Occupational Hygiene Tutorial Summative

    Participation (field visits, online discussion) Formative and Summative 10% 1-5
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessment Detail


    The ergonomic exercises are worth 20% of the total mark for the course (10% each).
    Exercise 1
    Using an activity in your own workplace (or one you are familiar with) as an example, describe how you might conduct an assessment using either of the two Ergonomics Models provided as a framework.
    Exercise 2
    Complete either a REBA or RULA analysis on the relevant tasks pictured at the end of the Module 2 Study Guide. Submit the results sheet and provide some dot point comments (no more than half-a-page) on its potential usefulness for developing control options. 


    The assessment comprises a quiz, scenario-based exercises and an asynchronous online tutorial.

    The quiz will comprise open book mutiple choice and short answer questions.

    Each of the exercise sets has a series of questions addressing key concepts and has an emphasis on authentic learning. For example, questions may relate to the investigation of occupational illness; the derivation, manipulation and interpretation of data for exposure assessment; risk communication to workers, health and safety representatives and managers; and the development and justification of control measures.
    The tutorial poses thought-provoking questions, often relating to contemporary issues or recent research and is an opportunity for student-student engagement eliciting personal or industry experience, discussion of policies or recent articles in the professional literature.

    The word limit for each exercise set or tutorial response is approximately 1000 words. References, figures and tables are excluded from the word count.
    All extensions for assignments must be requested, at the latest, by the last working day before the due date of submission. Extensions will generally be granted only on medical or genuine compassionate grounds. Supporting documentation must be provided at the time a student requests an extension. Without documentation, extensions will not be granted. Late requests for extension will neither be accepted nor acknowledged.

    Only the Course Co-ordinator(s) may grant extensions.
    Supporting documentation will be required when requesting an extension. Examples of documents that are acceptable include: a medical certificate that specifies dates of incapacity, a police report (in the case of lost computers, car & household theft etc.), a letter from a Student Counsellor, Education and Welfare Officer (EWO) or Disability Liaison Officer that provides an assessment of compassionate circumstances, or a letter from an independent externalcounsellor or appropriate professional able to verify the student’s situation. The length of any extension granted will take into account the period and severity of any incapacity or impact on the student. Extensions of more than 10 days will not be granted except in exceptional circumstances.
    Late submission
    Marks will be deducted when assignments for which no extension has been granted are handed in late.

    All assignments, including those submitted late, will be assessed on their merits. In the case of late assignments where no extension has been granted, 5 percentage points of the total marks possible per day will be deducted. If an assignment that is 2 days late is awarded 65% on its merits, the mark will then be reduced by 10% (5% per day for 2 days) to 55%. If that same assignment is 4 days late, the mark will be reduced by 20% (5% per day for 4 days) to 45%, and so on.

    The School of Public Health reserves the right to refuse to accept an assignment that is more than 7 days late.

    Assignments submitted after the due date may not be graded in time to be returned on the listed return dates.

    Students submitting examinable written work who request (and receive) an extension that takes them beyond the examination period are advised that there is no guarantee that their grades will be processed in time to meet usual University deadlines.

    If a student is dissatisfied with an assessment grade they should follow the Student Grievance Resolution Process <>. Students who are not satisfied with a particular assessment result should raise their concerns with Course Co-ordinator(s) in the first instance. This must be done within 10 business days of the date of notification of the result. Resubmission of any assignment is subject to the agreement of the Course Co-ordinator(s) and will only be permitted for the most compelling of reasons.
    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.

    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.

    As a result of student feedback, the occupational hygiene exercises and tutorial are supported by guidance videos. In addition, the opportunities for optional participation in field visits and professional activities have been broadened.

  • 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.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.