Top petrochemicals Sheq consultant Jeremy Rundle slams the “stupidity” of the DOL’s plan to enforce health and safety registration in 2015.
Rundle writes on his blog; The proposed mandatory SACPCMP (The South African Council for Project and Construction Management Professions) has arguably become one of the most hotly debated topics in the Sheq industry in South Africa.
With so many people in the line of fire on this one, it’s no wonder this has garnered as much attention as it has. Not only does this hold possible devastating long term effects on those who perform their daily tasks of keeping workers safe, the legislation in its current form is purely and simple idiotic.
It does not even start looking at the core of the issues facing the SHEQ industry or profession in South Africa; education.
The current situation in South Africa where SHEQ /SHE /HSE (whichever abbreviation floats your boat) is concerned is laughable to say the very least. There’s a multitude of ‘colleges’ who profess to being the be-all and end-all of safety education, yet there are core functions of the job which are not included in their courses.
When looking at the curriculum of the various ‘colleges’ you will start to realise how much of a problem South Africa is really facing in SHEQ education. None of the courses follow as set national standard!
The body who’s supposed to be setting this standard South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) is a shambles and completely lack the understand and /or the will power to make the changes needed to set a national standard in SHEQ training in South Africa.
Due to this complete and utter lack and useless nature of the statutory bodies to effect changes, a rise in |”professional bodies” are seen, who masquerade as the “messiahs of health and safety” in South Africa.
Each one of these somehow professing to have the best interest of their members at heart and “dedicated” to improving the profession as a whole. What a load of utter hogwash!
When you start looking a little deeper into these “professional bodies”, the SA-IOSH’s, IoSM’s and wherever the hell else there might be, you start realising that the people who founded these “noble” institutions are all somehow connected.
They’ve either assisted in founding one, then presumably quit because of some personal, known only to the almighty reason, and promptly started a similar venture. Makes sense doesn’t it? Yeah, it’s about as clear as mud to those who have not done much digging and research into the situation.
Granted, one of these “noble institutions” has a founding member who also serves on the “advisory committee to the minister of labour” (ACOHS) and therefore has access to the ear of the minister.
Does this make it better? Sadly not, instead of advocating for the rights and future of the profession he’s supposed to represent, he’s advocating a law which will see thousands of SHEQ officers without a job! Why? Well that answer completely eludes me personally.
The main problem in the proposed mandatory registration lies not only in the fact that the process wasn’t thought through properly, but also in the cost involved. Some SHEQ practitioners are expected to fork out R15 000 to have their experience evaluated by the SACPCMP.
No-one seems to care that the average basic salary of a SHEQ Officer is R8000.
Then there’s the Continued Professional Development (CPD) system. Most of the “professional boards” has some or other CPD system in place. Most of which means “come have a braai (BBQ for foreign readers) and few drinks and we’ll give you a set amount of points.
Yup, that’s South Africa’s idea of continual professional development. There are no actual short courses of substance involved, it’s merely a tea party which gives you points towards remaining registered with said “professional board”.
Oh what fun it is to “study” and continually develop yourself in South Africa!
What boggles the mind though remains the fact that the push by the Department of Labour (DoL) to force SHEQ practitioners to register with SACPCMP has come under great criticism with many a practitioner openly condemning the process and procedures, yet no-one seems to listen or care for their concerns.
The SACPCMP was established as the registration authority for the construction industry to “protect the public”. Well I am not exactly sure when’s the last time you’ve seen Joe Public taking a gentle afternoon stroll through a construction site admiring the bricks and mortar which will eventually become a building?
Other than “allowing you to be employed in the industry” there’s no advantage to the practitioner to being registered with SACPCMP, unless of course you see being sued by said body for wrong doing as an advantage.
The knock-on effect of this hasn’t even been contemplated, should this go ahead, SHEQ practitioners in South Africa will have to take out professional indemnity Insurance, which will be used for what? I don’t know, maybe a worker who did something which caused bodily harm to himself and decides it’s the SHEQ officer’s fault?
If this post doesn’t make much sense and creates more questions and actual answers, that’s exactly when the SHEQ industry registration and “professional bodies” in South Africa is like at the moment.
It’s confusing, has more questions than answer and just plain idiotic! I for one will not register with SACPCMP and will join the fight of SARSU, NIOCCSA, and Sheqafrica.com to stop this stupidity in its tracks. I hope you will join us in this?
To put a stop to health and safety registration schemes, and to save a few thousand jobs in the process, sign the e-petition at this link: https://www.causes.com/actions/1775393-sign-the-petition-to-department-of-labour
• Jeremy Rundle (BTech Safety Management (RSA); Diploma in Workers Health and Safety (Aus); MSc Risk and Safety Management (UK)), is a QHSE manager in the oil and gas industry, currently in West Africa, and registered as a Professional Member with SA IOSH (OSHProf). He is based in Durban.
Rundle founded the Safety And Related Services Union (SARSU) with Monique Motloung and Ntuthuko Dumakude (see a separate post on Sheqafrica.com). He writes on Rundle.org in his personal capacity.
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