KE6019 - Public Health and Occupational Safety

What will I learn on this module?

You will learn about public health protection and occupational safety and develop a critical understanding of the nature of communicable diseases and non-communicable occupational and environmental hazards to develop appropriate evidence and risk based approaches. You will build a critical understanding of organisations and approaches responsible for ensuring effective arrangements are in place nationally and locally for preparing, planning and responding to concerns and emergencies, including the future impact of climate change. You will focus on the key aspects including

• Harm from communicable diseases and health impact from environmental and occupational hazards
• Collection, analysis and interpretation of surveillance data
• Planning, investigation and response to incidents, accidents and outbreaks
• Legal and regulatory systems
• Resilience and emergency response
• Workplace health and safety,
• Health and safety risk management
• Principles and theories of health and safety management
• Occupational health and hygiene and occupational psychology

On completion of the module, your improved ability to link theory, practice and application will enhance your employability prospects within a broad environmental health / health, safety and environment job sector.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through lectures, seminars, IT workshops, field visits, independent learning and directed tasks. Lectures and seminars will cover theories and concepts, case study material, key exemplars, and module staff’s own research and consultancy. Learner centred approaches are used to allow you to explore topics and issues in greater depth and tackle guided exercises. Beyond timetabled sessions, your independent study will be guided and supported through your engagement with a range of directed resources and/or tasks available online via the module eLP site. Please note you will be given rapid research exercises and be expected to engage and deliver short presentations on your findings to your peers. Field visits will allow you to experience high standards of environmental protection and health and safety management in practice. As part of your assessment you will be tasked with assessing safety risks in a real life working environment, this gives excellent practical employability skills that are valued by employers.
Formative feedback opportunities in lectures and seminars will consolidate your learning as well as helping to improve your performance in the module assessments. You will be supported and encouraged to critically reflect and develop your skills through independent research, facilitated discussions, report writing and presentations to develop your communication skills.

This module is an introduction to employability within Safety, Health and Environment sectors in particular and is a foundation module for students wishing to consider further study in the fields of Environmental Health and Health, Safety and Environment.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Support will be provided during lectures and particularly seminars where you will engage in small group activities and receive guidance and feedback from academic staff. For example during the student led Seminars, in small groups you will present on key topics and receive feedback allowing you to feed this forward into your own learning and preparation for the summative assessment. This will also allow you to learn from your peers. Further resources will be available on-line via the module eLP this includes an interactive reading list with on-line access to a number of key textbooks, articles, links and other materials that are aligned with each lecture or seminar. Academic staff will respond to questions by email and will share common issues with the wider group so all can benefit.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
MLO 1: Critically discuss and assess the harm and health impact from communicable, occupational and environmental hazards and apply this knowledge to inform and deliver risk assessed responses to incidents, accidents and outbreaks.
MLO 2: Critically review the current statutory requirements and supporting resources aimed at securing compliance aimed at protecting health, safety and wellbeing of populations.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
MLO 3: Critically appraise, measure, interpret and investigate hazards to health and safety within defined populations. It is important for employability to be able to critically evaluate risk and approaches, based on current evidence and research.
MLO 4: Critically assess the role of professions and organisations with responsibility for protecting health, safety and wellbeing of populations against exposure to communicable, occupational and environmental hazards.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
MLO 5: Discuss the professional and ethical issues around protecting human populations from harm including workforce health, safety and welfare.

How will I be assessed?

You will produce an individual written report of 2,500 words that critically evaluates a public health incident. The report is summatively assessed and represents 50% of the weighting for this module and assesses MLO 1, 2, 4 and 5.

You will be then be assessed by a 15 minute individual presentation which will be prepared following a health and safety risk assessment of a real life workplace. This workplace can either be the field visit site or a workplace of your own choosing. The suitability of your chosen workplace which will be confirmed following communication and agreement with the Module Tutor. You will present the findings of your risk assessment in the role of a health and safety consultant to notional clients. You will receive written feedback on your presentation. This summative presentation represents 50% of the weighting for this module and assesses MLO 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Throughout the semester as part of a small group you will lead a series of seminars focussing upon key concepts in environmental protection and health and safety. The groups will receive detailed verbal feedback on their performance in these seminars. Throughout the module you will also receive formative verbal feedback when participating in discussions and debates in class.





Module abstract

‘Public Health and Occupational Safety’ provides real world practical experiences which prepare you for the world of work and/or further study. The module addresses 10 out of 11 of the wider programme learning outcomes which demonstrates how relevant the subject is. You will develop your practical, theoretical and critical skills that are attractive to employers, particularly within the Environmental Health and Safety, Health and Environment sectors. You will be involved in a series of challenging, student led research based seminars and will get the opportunity to practice a key safety intervention in a real workplace, alongside case studies and desk top exercises of major incidents linking theory with current practice. Transferable skills which employers value, such as research skills, working effectively as part of group, report writing and oral presentations skills are integral parts of the teaching and assessment on this module. Your learning will be supported and enhanced through engagement with learning resources on the module eLP site and an interactive electronic reading list. Assessment is via a written report that critically evaluates an major health protection incident and a presentation of the findings of real workplace risk assessment. You will receive formative guidance throughout the assessment process to support achieving your potential.

Course info

UCAS Code F840

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Geography and Environmental Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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