Leader in OHS education recognised by industry

31 May 2018
Dr Margaret Cook

A University of Queensland academic who has helped develop the body of knowledge for Australian occupational health and safety professionals has been awarded a Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) life membership award.

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences senior lecturer Dr Margaret Cook was one of five people to receive life membership awards this month for long-term outstanding services to the SIA, the national association for the health and safety profession.

Chair of the SIA College of Fellows and senior lecturer in UQ’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences Dr Kelly Johnstone said the Institute now had three female life members.

“This reflects longer-term changes within both the institute and the profession, where the contribution of both men and women is increasingly acknowledged, and what was traditionally a male-dominated profession is over time, becoming increasingly gender balanced,” she said.

The International Labour Organisation estimates about two million workers worldwide die as a result of work activities each year, a statistic that is steadily growing with expanding global industrialisation.

As the world focuses on workplace safety and regulations increase, there is currently a high demand for OHS graduates in developed and developing countries.

Dr Cook’s award also recognises her contributions to education, including her role in establishing the UQ Occupational Health and Safety Science programs and the SIA Education Awards and conference organisation.

Dr Cook graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (UQ) and Master of Health Science, Graduate Diploma of Occupational Health and Safety, and PhD (QUT), and has had an active research and practice career for more than 25 years, developing and delivering undergraduate and postgraduate programs at both universities.

During this time she has also consulted extensively to a range of organisations from government departments to manufacturing and retail companies.

In 2002 she was awarded the Eric Wigglesworth Medal for outstanding contribution to OHS research, an award presented by the Governor-General of Australia.