n Journal of Contemporary Management - Distance education of safety and health professionals at a higher education institution in South Africa : curriculum development

Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1815-7440



Figures released by the Annual Report of the Compensation Fund depict a dim picture of the safety record of industries in South Africa. Billions are paid out on compensation and medical benefits. These figures have remained at these high levels over the past three years and highlight the dire need for professional safety practitioners in South Africa. To upgrade the professionalism of safety practitioners, the University of South Africa has embarked on developing a curriculum to offer a bachelor in commerce degree in safety management with the view of adding postgraduate courses up to doctoral level. Research was undertaken to ensure that the curriculum of the undergraduate course is in line with international courses (benchmarked against the American Society of Safety Engineers guidelines), requirements of industry professional associations (Delphi technique) and safety practitioners (questionnaire survey: 314 respondents). Although a strong preference existed for the national diploma in safety, the BCom (Safety management) was preferred over the BTech (Safety management). A definite need for postgraduate degrees surfaced. Clear preferences with regard to the role of the safety manager, the subject matter and the topics that should be included emerged. The course content for each of the three years of the BCom (Safety management) is discussed - the very first degree of its kind in South Africa.

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