Unit of competency details

SIFOHS003A - Follow mortuary OHS procedures (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 19/Feb/2009

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to SIFEWHS001 - Follow mortuary work health and safety proceduresTitle changed to reflect new WHS legislation. 20/Jun/2013
Supersedes WFSPCS203A - Carry out mortuary OHS proceduresBased on but not equivalent to WFSPCS203A Incorporates outcomes of WFSABO302A Title changed to Follow mortuary OHS procedures 18/Feb/2009

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 061399 Public Health, N.e.c.  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 061399 Public Health, N.e.c.  19/Feb/2009 
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Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to apply OHS legislation and codes of practice in a mortuary environment.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit applies to embalming staff and other funeral home staff involved in mortuary work and body preparation.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Prerequisite units 


Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the required performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge and/or the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria




Apply workplace safety, security and emergency procedures.


Identify and apply relevant workplace policies and procedures .


Identify and report workplace hazards  and unsafe situations to appropriate personnel  according to workplace policies and procedures, and relevant legislation .


Identify, locate and use emergency equipment  according to workplace policies and procedures.


Perform safe manual handling.


Identify and assess manual handling requirements .


Select and plan lifting technique  according to manual handling requirements.


Prepare and clear work area of obstacles and hazards as required.


Apply correct lifting, carrying and placement techniques according to manual handling requirements.


Apply safety precautions when using mechanical aids.


Coordinate multiple person manual handling tasks as required.


Implement strategies to prevent infection in the workplace.


Apply personal hygiene practices  and universal precautions  according to workplace policies and procedures, and relevant legislation.


Identify, use and maintain personal protective equipment  according to workplace policies and procedures, and relevant legislation.


Handle and dispose of potentially infectious waste  according to workplace policies and procedures, and relevant legislation.


Handle and store hazardous substances safely.


Identify hazardous substances  from available workplace information .


Identify and apply storage requirements for hazardous substances according to workplace policies and procedures, and relevant legislation.


Identify and comply with signage for hazardous substances.


Identify problems  with signage and take corrective action  when required.


Check and use personal protective equipment when handling hazardous chemicals according to workplace policies and procedures.


Use, handle and dispose of hazardous substances according to manufacturer instructions, workplace policies and procedures, and relevant legislation.


Identify and comply with accident reporting procedures.


Check and use handling equipment  according to workplace policies and procedures, and relevant legislation and take corrective action where required.


Check and use emergency equipment  according to workplace policies and procedures, and relevant legislation and take corrective action where required.


Use strategies to prevent work overload.


Observe nominated rest times and breaks.


Identify workload and raise potential issues with appropriate staff.


Clarify and observe work roles.


Identify debriefing opportunities as required.


Carry out general housekeeping.


Monitor cleanliness, safety and tidiness of workplace and remove general waste  as required.


Use, maintain and store housekeeping equipment and supplies  according to workplace policies and procedures and manufacturer instructions.


Tag damaged items and notify appropriate personnel of maintenance requirements.


Report housekeeping issues to appropriate personnel according to workplace policies and procedures.


Comply with documentation and reporting requirements.


Complete documentation  according to workplace policies and procedures, and relevant legislation.


Report ongoing workplace hazards to appropriate personnel according to workplace policies and procedures, and relevant legislation.

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • communication skills, including clear and direct communication and active listening and questioning techniques, to liaise with other staff and report actual or potential hazards
  • literacy and numeracy skills to interpret and follow policies, manufacturer instructions and safety signage, labels, goods coding and marking
  • self-management skills to identify and meet own OHS responsibilities
  • problem-solving skills to identify and rectify or report hazardous situation.

Required knowledge 

  • relevant workplace policies and procedures
  • manual handling techniques
  • properties of hazardous substances
  • infection control practices
  • personal protective and emergency equipment
  • individual employee responsibilities in relation to ensuring safety of self, other workers and other people in the workplace
  • broad understanding of employer responsibilities under relevant state or territory OHS legislation
  • broad understanding of employee responsibilities to participate in OHS practices under relevant state or territory OHS legislation
  • broad understanding of relevant federal, state or territory, and local government legislation and regulations relating to infection control.

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the following is essential:

  • project or work activities that show the candidate's ability to follow predetermined health, safety and infection control procedures, incorporate safe work practices into all workplace activities and to handle hazardous substances for a given mortuary operation and in line with regulatory requirements
  • knowledge and understanding of the implications of disregarding those procedures
  • knowledge and understanding of the legal requirement to work according to health, safety and infection control procedures for a mortuary environment
  • following mortuary OHS procedures over a period of time to ensure consistency of performance and ability to respond to different situations.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure:

  • demonstration of skills in a mortuary facility where deceased bodies and hazardous wastes are handled
  • access to cleaning and disinfecting products
  • access to housekeeping equipment and materials
  • access to personal protective and emergency equipment
  • access to infectious waste disposal equipment.

Methods of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

  • observation of candidate applying health and safety practices, procedures and legislation for handling hazardous chemicals, general housekeeping duties and manual handling tasks, and preventing infection in the workplace
  • written or verbal questioning to assess knowledge of strategies to prevent work overload and the implementation of workplace security and emergency procedures
  • review of portfolios of evidence and third-party workplace reports of on-the-job performance by the candidate.

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

  • SIFWMK005A Prepare to perform body preparation
  • SIFWMK006A Cleanse and disinfect deceased bodies.

Employability skills embedded in this unit should be assessed holistically with other relevant units that make up the skill set or qualification and in the context of the job role.

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Workplace policies and procedures  may include:

  • OHS
  • general housekeeping
  • manual handling
  • first aid
  • security, such as:
  • mayday via two-way radio
  • working alone
  • duress alarm to police
  • alarm system
  • security guard
  • locking buildings and toilets
  • emergency, such as:
  • gas or electrical fire
  • fire drill
  • evacuation
  • reporting incidents and hazards
  • reporting tools, equipment and material defects and maintenance requirements
  • health and hygiene
  • waste disposal
  • chemical handling.

Workplace hazards  may include:

  • manual handling
  • toxic substances
  • industrial gases
  • body fluids and human tissue
  • infections
  • fire
  • infectious waste
  • sharps
  • chemical spills
  • dust and vapours
  • noise, light and energy sources
  • electrical equipment
  • vehicles
  • personal lifestyle
  • workplace stress
  • people.

Appropriate personnel  may include:

  • OHS representative
  • human resources personnel
  • team leader
  • leading hand
  • manager
  • supervisor.

Relevant legislation  may include:

  • OHS
  • cemetery Acts and by-laws
  • Environment Protection Act
  • Dangerous Goods Act
  • Public Health Act
  • Coroner's Act
  • Anatomy Act
  • Human Tissue Act.

Emergency equipment  may include:

  • fire extinguisher
  • fire blanket
  • first aid kit
  • medical and first aid equipment
  • evacuation equipment.

Manual handling requirements  may include:

  • weight and dimensions of object to be moved
  • weight and dimensions of deceased person to be moved.

Lifting technique  may include:

  • multiple or single person
  • assisted with manual lifting device
  • assisted with mechanical lifting device.

Personal hygiene practices  may include:

  • maintenance of work clothes cleanliness
  • hand washing
  • food hygiene practices
  • participation in workplace health program.

Universal precautions  must include:

  • use of personal protective equipment
  • presumption that all blood and body fluids are infectious
  • covering exposed cuts and abrasions, particularly on workers' hands, with waterproof coverings prior to commencing work
  • immediate treatment of puncture wounds or abrasions
  • use of protective clothing when cleaning spillage of body fluids.

Personal protective equipment  may include:

  • disposable gloves
  • heavy duty gloves
  • barrier gown or suit
  • waterproof overshoes
  • waterproof aprons
  • splash proof masks
  • eye goggles
  • face visor
  • hair cover
  • filtered air supply:
  • negative air pressure
  • powered positive air supply.

Infectious waste  may include:

  • body parts
  • human tissue
  • human blood and body fluid
  • materials and equipment containing human blood and body fluid
  • contaminated garments
  • soiled dressings, sharps, swabs, catheters and bandages.

Hazardous substances  may include:

  • acetone
  • alkyl dimethybenzyl
  • ammonium chloride
  • amaranth
  • amitrole
  • 2-butotxyethanol
  • camphor
  • chlorine salts
  • chloroform
  • cresol
  • diethanolamine
  • diethylene glycol
  • dimethylformamide
  • ethyl acetate
  • ethyl alcohol
  • ethylene dichloride
  • ethylene glycol monomethyl ether
  • formaldehyde
  • formic acid
  • glutaraldehyde
  • hexylene glycol
  • isobutane
  • isopropyl alcohol
  • methyl ethyl ketone
  • 2,2' methylene bis (4) chlorophene
  • methylene chloride
  • mineral spirits
  • moulding plaster
  • nitrocellulose
  • orthodichlorobenzene
  • oxalic acid
  • paradichlorobenzene
  • paraformaldehyde
  • phenol
  • propane, such as:
  • propylene glycol
  • quartz
  • quaternary ammonium compounds
  • sodium hypochlorite
  • sodium pentachlorophenate
  • talc
  • toluene
  • 111 trichloroethane
  • trichloroethylene.

  • talc
  • toluene
  • 111 trichloroethane
  • trichloroethylene.

Workplace information  may include:

  • material safety data sheets (MSDS)
  • labels
  • manufacturer guidelines.

Problems  may include:

  • unsuitable signage
  • badly placed signage
  • torn or illegal labels.

Corrective action  may include:

  • replacing torn or illegal labels
  • repositioning or replacing signage.

Handling equipment  may include:

  • trolleys.

Emergency equipment  may include:

  • firefighting equipment
  • medical and first aid equipment
  • evacuation equipment.

General waste  may include:

  • foodstuffs and drinks
  • paper and packaging materials
  • small machine replacement parts, such as for photocopying, printing and computing equipment.

Housekeeping equipment and supplies  may include:

  • pick up trolleys
  • mobile garbage bins
  • cleaning cloths
  • cleaning agents
  • bin liners
  • brooms
  • brushes and pans
  • mops.

Documentation  may include:

  • OHS incident and accident reports.

Unit Sector(s)


Funeral Services

Competency field

Competency field 

Occupational Health and Safety

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