Construction safety registration scoring queries

Some SACPCMP Construction Safety registration applicants query the logic of equating certain memberships with an International Diploma, or half an SA Diploma.

Memberships to some voluntary organisations are equated to a third of the points accorded to a BTech Safety degree.

Construction Health and Safety registration applicants to the SACPCMP are accorded these points towards the controversial three or four levels of designations;

Certificates or Diplomas
7.5 National Diploma (Risk Mgmt, Enviro or Related)
05 Construction HS LEARNERSHIP Certificate
05 NEBOSH International Diploma in Construction HS
03 SAMTRAC /SHEQMAN /NEBOSH /equivalent course
01 SETA-accredited OHS/CHS course (2 -8 credits)
0.5 Non-accredited OHS/CHS course (1 -5 days)
02 CPMP (4 x 5 Days in Constr Project Management)
+02 APPM (4 x5 Days in General Project Management)
+02 Damelin Advanced Project Management
+02 PMI – Project Management Professional
+02 Any NQS Level in Relevant Field (REGCOM)

Short course points may add up to a maximum of 7.5 points.
+ Plus marks indicate points that may be added to primary OHS training.

Membership of a professional association
+05 Member of a voluntary association recognised by the SACPCMP

Universities of Technology
15 BTech /HND (Safety Management)
7.5 BTech / HND (Constr Mg, Bld, QS, Archit, Civil, Electr, Mech Eng)
15 BTech (Construction Health and Safety Management)
10 ND (Operational Risk Management)
7.5 BTech (Arch. Tech)
10 ND (Safety Management)
05 ND (Constr Mg, Building, QS, Archit, Civil, Electrical, Mech Eng)
05 ND (Arch. Tech)

Academic Universities
7.5 BSc (Hons) (Constr Mg, Building, QS, Archit, Civil Eng)
7.5 BEng (Civil)
7.5 BEng (Mechanical, Electrical)
7.5 BArch (Hons)
05 BSc (Constr Mg, Bldg, QS, Archit, Civil, Electrical, Mech Eng) 3 Years
15 B. Com (Operational Risk Mgmt)

Post Graduate (Additional to First Degree Points)
+05 MSc (Construction Health and Safety Management)
+2.5 MSc (Constr Mg, Building, QS, Archit, Civil, Electrical, Mech Eng)
+2.5 MArch
+05 MSc (Operational Risk Management)

Post Graduate (Additional to First Degree Points)
+2.5 MTech (Constr Mg, Building, QS, Archit, Civil, Electrical, Mech Eng)
+2.5 MTech (Arch. Tech)

Thus a practitioner after a general five-day course (3 points); and two one-day courses of 2 to 8 credits (1 point, plus 1 point); and membership of one of the institutes (5 points); is accorded 9 points. An SA National Diploma in Safety Management is accorded 10 points.

If such a practitioner also added a learnership certificate (5 points), he would be accorded equal to a BTech Degree (15 points), in the scheme that could be enforced on employers in August 2015.

Thus a membership adds as much as an International Diploma, or half of a South African Diploma, or a third of a Safety or Construction Safety degree, in the scheme backed by construction institutes and employers.

The skills value of membership to a voluntary association, which the SACPCMP initiatlly said would by ‘one or two points’ (see older poasts on Sheqafrica.com), has crept up to five points, and appears to be over-valued.

The arrangement duplicates cost and portofolio of evidence (POE) efforts, on top of the cost and effort of a cumbersome ane elaborate registration process, under extensive criticism for attempting to ‘professionalise’ multi-disciplinary generalists with training and income at unprofessional levels.

The SACPCMP registration process also adds the cost and effort to complete doubtful essays, exams, CPD rendered by an online training contractor, and interviews at the higher levels.

Health and safety scope of services
The scope of services of a construction health and safety Agent; and Manager (not provided for in legislation, but provided for in a designation); and Officer, differs between training and practice, and the Construction Regulations Amendment.

The SACPCMP seems intent to bridge the skills differences by its registration exams, intended to test knowledge and experience, and some of its CPD exercises, or training in disguise.

The terms of the SAQA recognition as a registrar, prohibits professional bodies from training applicants.

The mining industry has instead resorted to the new vocational training authority, the QCTO, for which it drafted a general health and safety practitioner training standard to apply to all industries (see a post on the forthcoming curriculum standard on Sheqafarica.com).

Construction employers, their bodies such as Master Builders, Buildsafe SA, other professions such as Engineering Council and Safcec, who designed the construction safety registration ‘ticket’ system, seems to aim to transfer some moral and legal liability for construction incidents to OHS practitioners, at their own expense, and to avoid tighter regulation of construction employers and Clients.

The requirement to appoint registered construction OHS practitioners, would theoretically apply to all construction employers, including public works, parastatals such as Tekom, Eskom, Sasol; construction in mining, excavations and so on, from August 2015.

Some construction companies are already advertising for registered construction health and safety agents, managers and officers, despite the current exemption, and despite the absence of the term ‘CHS Manager’ in the regulations.

OHS practitioners fear that the DOL would expand the scheme to other industries, further blocking access to jobs and mobility.

* Sources; SACPCMP. Safcec. Sheqafrica.com
* See more than 30 points of opposition that have been raised against construction safety registration, on Sheqafrica.com, in the post ‘Comments on construction health and safety registration’.

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12 thoughts on “Construction safety registration scoring queries

  1. SACPCMP registration is very confusing and misleading. I agree professional registration is a good thing ,but I don’t agree that the SACPCMP is the best registration body. I have various short courses and recently started studying towards my National Diploma, just to find out that people with short courses will be scored at almost the same level than someone with a diploma. How fair is that? why do I need to spend an enormous amount on study fees, hours on assignments and studying if I can just do a few short courses?

    ==== Editor notes; Agreed. When the DOL proposed the SACPCMP, there was a loose concensus that it could be the lesser evil, compared to voluntary associations and their cultic practices. Now they are all in cahoots to extort practitioners, serve state and employer agendas, and keep the practice where it is.
    The only better ‘body’ is a simple list of qualifications, and the (professional) HR practitioners who check up on the experience record of every applicant, instead of trusting certificates sold by some-body. This tick-box exerecise will cost us, and all high risk industries, deerly in the long term.
    In addition, there will be mistrust between the skilled and the registered, and abuse of the term ‘qualification’.

  2. I have four years of experience in construction health and safety assisting with projects, preparing safety files and managing safety compliance on projects. Can I register with [SACPCMP] to become a safety officer or a safety manager with an international dipolma, or do I need to do [a certain short course] to register as a Safety Officer or Manager.

    ==== Editor notes; I removed trade names from your comment. The SACPCMP scores all courses based on their duration, relevance, and Seta registration. Some practitioners have said that they could not find the score sheet or list of courses on the SACPCMP website. However all registered courses are recognised by employers, and by the SACPCMP. See reports on SACPCMP registration and scoring on Sheqafrica.com for various details on the points, such as the report on mass registration workshops, and on scoring queries.

    The length of time of learning is important, in favour of courses longer than five days, according to the SACPCMP score sheet. There is no other difference between particular courses or training providers, as far as the SACPCMP is concerned.
    Courses not registered with the relevant Setas (Services, and Construction) are given fewer points. Most of the nine or so established Sheq providers, and many smaller providers, offer registered courses relevant to construction health, safety, environment and quality. All aspects of Sheq are recognised, despite the more limited scope of the Construction Regulations.

    Construction Health and Safety Managers are not required to register.
    I hope that the DOL would see the error of its ways and remove construction HS Officers from the professional registration circus.

    Health and safety practitioners at any level or industry are not required to be a member of any voluntary institute or organisation. The few bonus points they sell are not worth the extra cost. Rather do another course.
    Sheq is a broad and multi-disciplinary field, so invest in deepening your skills, and developing your specialisation, instead of more general workshops. All the top training providers will give you career path guidance.
    When they try to sell you CPD exercises, again do a real course instead. Document all your training, experience, mentors, and in-house-training, for your own career planning and CV.
    Your skills, your CV, and your references, are more important than any designation for the HR file.

  3. I wonder how much points one needs to score to make it as Construction Health and Safety Manager. I am concerned with the way things are unfolding at SACPCMP, it looks like those who have short courses are more preferred than those who have Diploma’s and BTechs. Education should be respected and recognised by those who are assessing us, it seems that those who have RPL are more favoured.

    —- Editor notes; Scores for the various levels are somewhere on the SACPCMP website. However there is not much point in paying for the CHS Manager designation, since no employers are required to hire registered construction health and safety Managers.
    Short courses are not scored higher than Diplomas, however some courses use the word diploma loosely. BTechs are scored depending on their relevance to OHSE.
    Enviro qualifications are accorded some points that are not necessarily based on the scope of services, nor on the real world job.
    The RPL option, recognition of prior learning, applies to very few people, who have top level experience (and about R15 000 in spare cash), and low level or no qualifications.
    They and their employers would be better off spending the RPL fee on real training, instead of an interview and a golden star from the uncles and aunties in the registration business.

  4. The newly appointed watchdog for construction heatlh and safety [SACPCMP] does not seem to understand the CHS profession. According to them, “Construction Health and Safety Officer” means a person who is appointed by an employer to assist site management with the planning, implementation and management of construction health and safety systems, and who has satisfied the registration criteria of the SACPCMP to perform the prescribed functions.

    However, only CHS Manager level people are capable of doing this.
    We have the blind leading the Cyclops (one-eyed), and the ASHEEP following willingly to the slaughter-house.

    See; “Construction Health and Safety Managers may be appointed in two ways:
     Clients may appoint a Construction Health and Safety Manager directly to compliment the professional team. This does not imply that the client should not appoint/replace a Client Appointed Construction Health and Safety Agent;
     Contractors may appoint a Construction Health and Safety Manager directly to manage company or project health and safety performance and compliance in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations.”

    “Construction Health and Safety Manager” means a person who is appointed by an employer to manage the planning and implementation of construction health and safety systems and who has satisfied the registration criteria of the SACPCMP to perform the prescribed functions.”

    The difference is in the application fees. Nothing else.

    — Editor notes; The mystery of the grey area of the construction Health and Safety Manager continues. They are not required to register. Perhaps CHS Officers will be considered CHS Managers, where and when it suits their employers? For example, in health and safety files? And in incident investigations? And in court?

    1. I do not fully agree with Danny’s comment. There are distinct differences between the scopes of services of CHS Managers and Officers. There is also a slight difference in the qualifications and experience these people need. I do agree that the “definitions” as quoted are not aligned to the competency requirements.
      As the H&S systems need to be planned and designed at inception stages already, it falls outside the scope of the managers and officers. Their role is limited to implementation of controls to comply with the client’s health and safety specification and their own H&S Plans.

      —- Editor notes; When the Client says, Your Honour I appointed these registered health and safety professionals; the Agent says Your Honour I specified and planned for safety; the Manager says Your Honour I am not a registered professional just a co-ordinator; the Officer says… um, I implemented some of these controls. But I did not plan or design them. I am slightly less liable than the Agent and the Manager. Or perhaps more liable than the Manager, who is not registered. My definition is not aligned to my competency requirements. I made my own HS plan.
      Which is almost equal to pleading guilty and asking for corporal punishment, or casting your lot at the mercy of management, or the Court, or both.
      As another visitor said, the iniquities of this legislation are yet to reveal themselves.

  5. I have a five-day health and safety course, and busy with a diploma at an FET college, can I register?

    —- Editor notes; Anyone can register with the SACPCMP for construction health and safety, but you will probably apply for, or be given a Candidate designation, depending on the relevance of your courses, and your construction work experience.
    If you do career planning, you would probably find that HSE courses longer than five days (seven, eight, ten, or more days) are more cost-effective; that your private college diploma is not a Diploma in the tertiary sense; that you would have to check the Seta status and industry recognition of training providers; that you need a senior mentor in the company as a referee of your experience; that your CV is more important than any registration; and that your employer may need particular skills among the ten or more Sheq specialities. Discuss these issues with your manager and HR.
    One size does not fit all.

  6. Here are four comments about the net effect of construction health and safety registration, from Obed Mhlanga, Collin Sherry, Rudy Maritz, and Edmond Furter.

    More obstacles and high fees

    Obed Mhlanga commented; I work at a third party safety consultant. I will be happy to see this construction safety registration process scrapped, since it is here not improve the industry, but to create more unemployment.

    The information asked is also difficult to obtain, like procurement and value of projects. I worked for an Australian company in South Africa, and the company relocated back to Australia.

    Where am I expected to get that information required for registration. The fees asked are also too much, since most of us are employed on contract.

    They are not promising regulating the pay of registered safety practitioners by minimum wages or salaries. I may have to look for another career. -Obed Mhlanga

    Safety registration will take a toll

    Colin Sherry commented; What are the impacts of safety registration on smaller companies in construction, with a staff of about 10 or less?

    Are they going to survive these changes that place a relatively huge financial cost on them? We used to say in their Safety Project Plan, that over the next 4 to 5 years all staff will be trained in safety, but now the DOL want it before they start!

    I met an owner of such a company and if you want to see despondency, meet this guy! He says that the legal requirement such as BEE and safety, costs just too much up front, and he just wants to close down. All his staff will lose their jobs. –Colin Sherry.

    Health and safety practitioners need a year of training

    Rudy Maritz commented; We have to accept that BEE scores and safety registration will take their shares of close-downs, until construction companies come to the party.

    The present allocation of work based on the points system and other forms of quotes, does not cater for the additional costs of registered Construction Health and Safety Agents, particularly not of registered CHS Officers.

    Contractors allowing for these costs in their quotes run the risk of losing the bid. Unless the costs are specified in the BOQ in the quote, it is generally accepted that it is included in the P&G’s.

    Many contractors do not allow for this, and are thus cheaper than those who do. Getting out of construction safety is probably the smart move in the short term, but in the long run, those who ride it out will be victors.

    Whether the registration is scrapped, moved away from the SACPCMP, or remains, changes are certain. Sheq practice cannot continue without relevant qualifications of less than a 12 month Certificate level course. -Rudy Maritz.

    Registration is an obstacle, not training

    Edmond Furter commented; Sadly, the SACPCMP process is not aimed at raising construction health and safety training or skills levels, but aimed at setting itself up as a registration, examination, interview, and CPD provider instead.

    If the DOL and employers wanted to raise training, they could have written that into the regulations. But the uncles and aunties want to form more boards and authorities, funded by schedules of fees, in return for smoke and mirrors.

    The ideal of one-year health and safety courses is now effectively replaced by the registration circus, until the DOL and employers see the error of judgement that the voluntary boards have led them into.

    That could take some years, during which the rubber-stampers will pretend construction safety success, and lobby the DOL to extend the ‘warm fuzzy’ scheme to other industries. -Edmond Furter.

    • Sheqafrica.com invites comment on SACPCMP construction health and safety registration, in the Comment column below.

  7. In response to a query from Hank on what the requirements are, here is the short version of my standard response;

    The requirements are in the Construction Regulations Amendment 2014, and in the SACPCMP criteria, as on their website.
    These requirements are cited, interpreted, and discussed in several posts on Sheqafrica.com. You could use the Search button and enter terms such as; construction safety registration.

    The state believes that big employers, engineers, and CHS Agents have been sufficiently consulted, and support the scheme.
    CHS Managers do not have to register, for reasons still somehwat unclear.
    I am of the opinion that the inclusion of construction health and safety Officers in the registration scheme, is morally and practically wrong, for about 30 reasons as listed by objectors in another post, including several flaws in the process.

    All OHS officers and all industries are at risk of the flawed DOL /SACPCMP scheme, with its gravy for volutary bodies, since they want to extend it to other industries.
    We invite your considerations and opinions. -Sheq greetings, Edmond Furter.

  8. Johan had asked; “How can one best prepare for the Construction Health and Safety Manager [SACPCMP registration] exam?”

    Johan, CHS Managers do not have to register, so you should rather invest in training. CHS Agents have to register, but undergo an interview, and do not write an exam.

    Theoretically the SACPCMP exams are supposed to confirm your formal training and expeprience. However we would all fail if we had to re-write any training exams without preparation. Several questions have been raised about the scope and format of the relevant services as described in the Regulations, versus the SACPCMP scope, versus job reality.

    One of the grey areas is that some of the skills or services required in real CHSM jobs, or in the Regulations, or in the SACPCMP list, are not in the Unisa Safety Management diploma curriculum. Some of all of the above would be in the exam, and most would not.

    Some voluntary associations (the class captains or bungalow bills of the SACPCMP /DOL) have attempted selling study guides, which would be illegal in terms of the SAQA policy. Some ‘registrars’ present workshops and meetings where you pay for tips and ‘spot’ question hints, another grey area.

    The SACPCMP’s contractor offers supposed CPD videos that may or may not overlap with the exam questions. The SACPCMP would let you write the exam (and pay the exam fee) any number of times, until you know most of the questions.

    Some email circulars or cram files with model answers are inevitable. Meanwhile, there are also portfolio of evidence (POE) service providers who may offer some extra hints. Some of these are based in KZN. The entire scheme is full of grey areas, and prone to rot and further exploitation.

    The authorities and bodies want the practitioners to feel vaguely guilty and incompetent, and to pay for the system designed by construction employers, and uncle Ray, uncle Joep, uncle Neels, uncle Doug, and autie Claire, to make the DOL and the boards look busy.

    I am in favour of dedicated training courses, by registered training providers (not state or volunteer ‘boards’), at Certificate level for CHSMs, and diploma level for CHSAs. And the scrapping of any state backing of third party construction OHSE /OS /OHS /OSHE /OH /Q /Sheq boards and registrars.

    I respect the right of envrionmental assessors and managers, who have relevant recognised degrees, to form their own registrar with the backing of the DEA. They will get the benefits and drawbacks they deserve, but at least it is all of their own and unanimous making.

    The short answer to your construction health and safety management registration exam query, should be a question; why does your employer want a registered CHS Manager? If they misunderstood the Regulation (which is understandable), or just want a piece of paper to add to a facade of compliance, they should invest in a better HR scope of serivce, more exact job specs, and more refined training assistance instead. -Greetings, Edmond Furter

  9. Not we Koos, just the self proclaimed award winning editor of magazines that have gone bust and who has no formal qualifications nor a day’s experience in occupational health and safety, talking to himself.

  10. Gerard, there are also other opinions on this issue, such as the other seven comments earlier, and this one today;

    From Colin Sherry; “What is the uptake of SACPCMP registration exams? Is there acceptance or rejection of their system? They will of course not supply the real figures anyway, same as the police crime stats.

    “When we wrote the National Examinations we knew what we were going to be required to know and write about, but now?

    “Are they going to exempt those that have not registered by August again? Like they did last year.

    “The Electricians and Asbestos handlers got registration right, and cost effective. I am not against construction health and safety registration, but not like this. This whole thing is a total mess and very costly and will probably increase unemployment as well!” -Colin Sherry.

    Gerard, there are also other opinions on my scope of services, if you feel compelled to change the subject.

    Such as this one from Johan Cilliers; “I am quite fascinated by your skill and ability to absorb so much info, to edit and sort out and then produce an article that presents so much to digest and appreciate. Judging by the volume and the extent of coverage of every article or report indicate a vast area of research and tracking to present a picture that gives so much to value and take note of. And sometimes you manage to achieve it in such a short spate of time that it actually confuses me. My compliments. May I ask whether it is possible to get a copy of the photograph you took”… [etc]. -Johan Cilliers.

    This is a different Johan from the Johan who had queried how to prepare for the SACPCMP CHSM exam.

    Koos, it is not a conversation, it is protest against bad consultation, bad legislation, and the unwanted consequences of bad governance. And it will resume in August when it becomes effective. Or rather, ineffective in addressing the well-known and academically confirmed problems of South African construction health and safety management. -Edmond Furter

    Anonymous wrote; “I applied for registration to the UK IIRSM institute and sent them my qualifications: SAMTRAC course, Auditors course, Telkom Auditors course, Basic Introduction to Safety course, Environmental Course of one week, Fire Fighting course of one week, NADSAM diploma. They evaluated and accepted them without a re-examination. I was registered as a Full Member, their top or graduate category. The fee was about R1800, but much less in UK pounds. Do I have to register and pay and write an exam again?”

    Another Anonymous wrote; “I have a project coming up that needs a full time Safety Officer. They accepted my qualifications but what happens after August I do not know because I have not registered.”

    These Anonymi are real health and safety people, who fear that they may be victimised or penalised in terms of the SACPCMP code of conduct, on the vague clause against ‘disrepute’. Just in case their employers may force them to register.
    The four OHS registration bodies (and their six boards) brought the practice into disrepute.

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