IOSH UK failed to confirm an IOSH SA registration link, potentially contradicting the SAIOSH presentation to SAQA and practitioners.
The international health and safety registrar IOSH, via its communications head Ian Smart, responded to a query from Sheqafrica.com; “IOSH developments in regard to South Africa and parties therein, are subject to continuing discussions, and are still confidential.”
IOSH SA /SAIOSH initially offered UK designations in June last year, saying IOSH and SAIOSH would “create conditions for membership of a joint organisation” and “use the same continuing professional development (CPD) administration programmes, assess similar standards, and qualifications in occupational safety and health, that give access to membership categories of their organisations.”
SAIOSH education official Shane Lishman now say theyoffer internationally recognised IOSH registration “via a slightly different process”.
However, The SAIOSH website writes; “In addition to the International recognition that SAIOSH recently brought to its members via the agreement with IOSH in the UK, we now also offer members the following South African OHS professional designations:
• Occupational Health and Safety Practitioner (OHSPRAC)
• Occupational Health and Safety Professional (OHSPROF)
• Certified Occupational Health and Safety Professional (COHSPROF).”
SAIOSH is recognised as a professional body by SAQA, partly on the understanding that it is in partnership with the large international body, and has the benefit of some of the parent body’s capacity and development advantages. Yet there is no official link on the IOSH UK website to indicate the existence of this partnership yet.
Registrars split and split again
The query of capacity and benefits is among a range of issues raised by the immanent enforcement by DOL of registration of construction health and safety professionals with SACPCMP, and that body’s model of granting some CPD points for voluntary registration or designations with SAQA-recognised membership bodies.
However SACPCMP said that its “registration would not be automatic” or rubber-stamped, and it would grant very few CPD points for other memberships or designations, in the order of two or three points, and had no partnerships with voluntary registrars.
The voluntary registrars IOSH SA /SAIOSH, and IOSM /OSPCB, and SAIOH, are each split into an admin arm, and a board or service provider, under different names, ostensibly for ethical reasons, but posing a challenge to audits and public transparency of the non-profit entities. Variant names and labels such as ‘Institute, Institution, Board, partner, Assessor, and examination board’ are used, indicating different entities and constitutions.
SACPCMP and MQA partnership riddles
The SACPCMP had appointed an IOSM training specialist as a consultant late last year, and announced that they had ‘a partner’, later said it was not IOSM, and now say they have their entire capacity in house, and have no consultants or partnerships.
When the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) acting as Mining Seta required an Assessment Quality Partner (AQP), in terms of training law, to ensure the quality of learners who complete registered courses based on the new Occupational Health and Safety Practitioner curriculum standard, registered on the OFO by the QCTO, IOSM offered to form an AQP for that purpose.
Meanwhile IOSH SA /SAIOSH said that the Minister of Labour’s advisory council, ACOHS, had “urged the minister to promulgate the Construction Regulations Amendment without delay.” ACOHS includes IOSH SA /SAIOSH Registrar Neels Nortje as the appointed safety specialist, formerly representing Master Builders via Business Unity SA, now directly appointed.
Agency approaches minister
DOL had granted the Development Agency for Safety and Health, DASH, a Cape Town-based lobby group, until the middle of September 2013 to make representations on the format of registration, competency assessment and development of health and safety professionals.
“We are delighted and relieved at this opportunity. For the first time, the voice of individuals take precedent over institutions,” said DASH spokesman Rudy Maritz. “Some requirements in the draft regulation have not been properly structured or defined to ensure the appointment and competency of various safety practitioners.
“We will recommend minor changes to legislation. It is imperative to the success of the profession that the regulations and future reform in labour law, integrates with national policy and strategic objectives.”
“Legislative changes open the door for the creation of a profession, via the first statutory body, SACPCMP. Other industry sectors could follow suit, creating their own registrars and watchdogs, which is understandable.
“We find the voluntary registrars and their means to address competency, covered in a shroud of non-disclosure. We approached the body in the UK, but they could not confirm the existence of agreements with professional bodies in SA.
“We are forced to turn to employers for answers, and to scrutinise relevant legislation, assess its interpretation in practice, looking into the role of professional bodies in HSE and other professions, based on their alliances, capacity, viability, representation, ethics and policies. We will take the best from each process, to present to SAQA as a model for assessment of these bodies”.
DASH listed their key concerns with the health and safety profession, and its bodies, as lacking in;
• promotion of the profession
• career guidance
• affected parties in Standards Generating Bodies (SGBs) and curricula standards
• public information on memberships and skills levels
• adequate numbers, with about 15 000 HSE professionals in SA, split between four, and potentially more, registrars
• cohesion among labour, education, training, skills development, HR, and professions legislation and practice
• regulation of professional bodies.
CPD not effective at lower levels
DASH said they would “propose processes to define criteria for continuous career advancement, as opposed to continued professional development (CPD), which is an irrelevant concept at lower NQF levels.”
They do not plan to become a membership body, but to “research and develop mechanisms to assist employers and health and safety employees in developing the profession, with or without professional bodies.”
Sheqafrica.com had posed these questions to IOSH UK and SAIOSH;
• What is the nature and extent of the link between IOSH, and IOSH SA /SAIOSH /Neels Nortje /Robin Jones /Shane Lishman?
• Does IOSH have oversight of IOSH SA /SAIOSH finances, operations, ethics, boards elections, or staff appointments?
• Does IOSH SA /SAIOSH registration require a registration exam?
• Is IOSH SA /SAIOSH registration recognised in the UK?
• Does IOSH SA /SAIOSH offer training, or professional development, and in what format?
• Does IOSH UK promote, or give preference to training by Nebosh licensees, or Wise Global Training?
See an interview with SAIOSH /IOSH SA president Robin Jones, with his initial explanation of the link and support from IOSH UK, on Sheqafrica.com