Rockhampton worksite visits benefit CQU health and safety students and local industry

07 September 2023
A group of people in hi-vis clothing stand near a river barrage installation
A group of CQU Occupational Health and Safety students at the Rockhampton River Barrage

CQUniversity Occupational Health and Safety students observed real, on-site health and safety risk management procedures across several Rockhampton-based industries as part of their studies recently.

The post-graduate and undergraduate went to several industrial sites including SMW Grioup, QMAG and the Rockhampton River Barrage.

The visits were part of the residential schools where students were exposed to policies, procedures and controls used by the respective organisations as part of their Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems. 

The students, who came from Cairns, Toowoomba, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide, also undertook practical activities at the campus, where they were required to design an inspection checklist and conduct an evaluation of the workshop against the checklist, a routine activity for safety professionals.

At SMW Group, a heavy industrial manufacturing and fabrication site, post-graduate students assessed risks associated with a gantry crane lifting task and potential risks associated with other work-related interactions as the task was performed. 

CQU Unit Coordinator, Frank Bogna said that “due to the complex nature of this task, we had to combine different risk analysis tools to capture the risk factors. The use of diverse and innovative instruments for the evaluation of complex systems is becoming more commonplace, and being able to know which methods to use is increasingly important as work system complexity grows.”

At QMAG, a refinery and global supplier of magnesia products, post-graduate students conducted several occupational hygiene monitoring activities to explore health risks associated with noise, light, heat stress, and respirable dust.

Senior Lecturer in Occupational Health and Safety Dr Elise Crawford said CQU’s industry partners offer highly valuable learning experiences for our students.

“By working with industry, we can target student activities to the workplace. This allows our students to develop their skills in specialty areas while aligning with industry needs,” Dr Crawford said.

“Consequently, students experience authentic learning opportunities while developing specialist skills. CQUniversity maintains industry relevance, and in return, industry gain valuable insights from our students as they undertake work-based tasks and share their findings. 

“Importantly, these reciprocal arrangements not only benefit the immediate students, staff, and industry partners, but by extension support industry improvements and the overall development of the OHS Profession.”

SMW Group Chief People and Culture Officer and CQU alumnus Riley Boland said the visit by the OH&S students was invaluable.

“Having a res school tour of the facility brings a fresh set of eyes and approaches to studying our high-risk tasks in the workplaces,” Mr Boland said. 

“The recommendations we receive are often valuable and are used to improve the overall health and safety in the workplace and introduce new controls for the tasks under review.”


A group of five men and women in hi-visibility clothing and wearing safety glasses stand in a workshed smiling at the camera
A group of CQU post-graduate Occupational Health and Safety students recently visited the SMW Group facilities as part of a residental school