On-site experience is a win-win for industry partners

07 June 2022

Twenty-five CQUniversity Bachelor of Occupational Health and Safety students put their knowledge and skills to the test during recent residential school industry experiences.

The group of third year students worked onsite at industry partners' SMW Group and Aurizon' as part of a four-day residential school in Rockhampton.

Occupational Health and Safety Unit Coordinator Dr Elise Crawford said during this term's residential school students were taken to various industrial and safety-critical sites to undertake work-based risk assessments to focus on specialty fields of Human Factors' Risk management and Occupational Health and Safety.

"This year we took students to two sites' SMW Group and Aurizon. At the Aurizon Control Centre' students utilised various human factors analytical tools to evaluate human-system interactions with the rail network and electrical control systems to evaluate whether the controllers' cognitive needs are met in the design of their systems'" she explained.

"At SMW Group students conducted a risk assessment utilising the advanced BowTie Risk Assessment technique to identify and analyse risk sources from several geographical parts of their operation.

"Students also conducted several occupational hygiene surveys as per the relevant Australian Standards. This year' students surveyed for respirable dust' noise' task lighting' and temperature."

This was the first time the engineering company' SMW Group' which provides services to the mining' industry and defence sectors' had participated in the University's OH&S residential school.

SMW Chief People and Culture Officer Riley Boland' who is an alumnus of CQUniversity's OHS course' said the company was pleased to be able to support the students' learning journey with some real-world industry experience.

"We've been able to show the students the stages of the manufacturing process and how a company like ours manages safety'" explained Mr Boland.

Dr Crawford said the relationship with SMW was a winning arrangement for the company' the University and students.

"We have a reciprocal learning arrangement where our students gain valuable authentic learning experiences while hosts gain insights from our students as they undertake their work-based tasks.

"It's nice to have a win-win situation. Site assessments also provide insight to University staff on emerging issues in industry.

"This knowledge helps our staff keep our curriculum up to date on what industry needs' and in turn supports the development of work-ready OHS students."

Other activities planned with SMW Group for this year include opportunities for industry placement' employment' and research.

Dr Crawford said she was also appreciative of the partnership with Aurizon.

"Access to control rooms is particularly difficult due to the safety-critical nature of the controllers' work and we appreciate Aurizon allowing our students this privilege.

"Aurizon also values connecting with community and supporting student learning whenever they can."