Safety in Design

Engineering context

Current Work, Health and Safety (WH&S) Legislation as implemented by each of the states and territories has a greater emphasis on identifying hazards in the design process. The legislation requires engineers to consider the potential risks involved during the life of a design to ensure that it is safe to build, operate, maintain and demolish.

This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) focuses on safety in the engineering design process and provides a detailed understanding of the designers’ obligations under the WH&S Legislation. A systematic approach to implementing risk management will also feature throughout the course topics.

Upon successful completion, you will have a greater understanding of the tools, practices and techniques to implement safe designs. Through engineering project examples and activities, you will gain an understanding of how safety and design fit into the risk management framework. 

What will you learn?

  • Demonstrate your understanding of the WH&S Legislation’s requirements of designers; the core components of risk management; and of some of the available tools and methods for risk minimisation.
  • Apply the concepts of risk management to a selected scenario and evaluate the efficiency of measures used in the scenario.
  • Implement Safety in Design on projects (introductory level).

How will you learn?

This course is delivered through the Open Learning social online learning and MOOC platform. In addition to the learning materials and access to an industry expert facilitator, you have opportunity to collaborate with other learners, initiate and join conversations, influence each other and share your knowledge and experience.

Join the course anytime and work through it at your own pace.


"It was very thought provoking. It made me question what I was currently doing and give directions I hadn't thought of. While it seemed quite a basic course, it was definitely the place to start before going on to more advanced courses- Russell, 2019

"The social learning experience was fantastic. It helped me see the content from multiple perspectives, not just my own" - Jay, 2019

"I liked that I could go at my own pace. It was easy to follow and track progress" - Lenny, 2019

"The content was very interesting" - Andrew, 2019

Book Online Session
Certificate of Completion
Start Date:
Start any time
8 hours
AU$285 to enrol

Your facilitator for this course

John Giles is a highly experienced electrical engineer with a detailed understanding of all aspects of electrical engineering. He has a broad understanding of civil, structural and mechanical engineering principles and practices gained from experience in the infrastructure project industry. His experience spans more than 40 years.

John’s varied experience includes hydro-electric, diesel and gas turbine power generation, HV power transmission systems, HV power distribution, water and wastewater treatment, water distribution, control and instrumentation, railway power distribution, microwave and communications networks, building services, and process automation.

John was chief engineer for UGL Infrastructure for 30 years where he lead and maintained the high standard of engineering service produced for the company’s infrastructure projects.

John led the development of 'Safety In Design' approaches within UGL Infrastructure, introducing tools such as the CHAIR process and HAZOP/CHAZOP reviews. He has conducted over 100 SID workshops for electricity and water/wastewater infrastructure projects.

He is Principal of his own company, Appleseed Engineering, a member of CIGRE Australian Panel AP B2, and member of Standards Australia Committees EL43 (AS2067) and EL52 (AS7000), and a Fellow member of Engineers Australia.

Full Course Outline

In this course, you will go through the following ten modules:

1. Introduction to safety
In the first module, you will familiarise yourself with essential terms used in risk management. 

2. The fundamentals of managing risks
We will explore the relevance of managing risks and the drivers of implementing risk management into engineering design. Using examples from the past engineering failures, we will discuss duty of care as defined by law.

3. Legislation
In this module, we will dive into legislation, mandatory and voluntary compliance and how Australian legislation and requirements vary across states and territories. You will familiarise yourself with legislation and requirements relevant to WH&S / OH&S, engineering and design.

4. Consequences of poor risk management
Using examples from the past, such as Challenger Space Shuttle, we will focus on analysing the failure causes and on what we can learn from it and how we can prevent it in our current and future engineering design projects.

5. Risk management in engineering
In this module, we will concentrate on seeing the engineering risk management as a holistic process. We will discuss your competency and terms duty holder and due diligence.

6. Risk mitigation and risk reduction
We will look at risk mitigation and risk reduction methodology, including ALARP (As Low As Reasonably Practicable), SFAIRP (So Far As Is Reasonably Practicable). We will also discuss the term grossly disproportionate and what it means in engineering practice.

7. Risk management process
In this module, we will delve into the formal process of managing risks starting with communication and consultation and ending with monitoring and reviewing risks. We will also discuss relevant tools used in engineering risk management.

8. Managing risks
Building on the previous module, we will dig deeper into risk management phases and learn to identify and analyse risks, assess risk and develop a risk matrix. You will also familiarise yourself with the hierarchy of control in an engineering context. 

9. Documentation
In the final module, you will familiarise yourself with a variety of documentation, including CHAIR minutes, HAZOP minutes, CHAZOP minutes, safety case, and other.

10. Where to next?
In this module, you will have an opportunity to reflect, share your feedback on the course design, teaching approach and facilitation, and find out what else we have in store for you.