I am back in South Africa, and confronting the question of the organisational position of Sheq managers.
Are we part and parcel of human resources (HR), or separate? In my experience we are separate from HR, and are more technical and operational.
SHEQ Managers and the CEO
Sheq Managers internationally should report to the CEO or MD. This is common practice in most of the companies I have worked.
In my last role, as HSSE Commissioning Manager for a petrochemical refinery, it would have been impossible to ‘report to HR’. So perhaps we should first look at the industrial sector.
In retail and non-technical industries, Sheq people may report to HR, but in technical operations Sheq managers must report to the CEO or MD, on par with the other departments with their line management silos.
I would hate to report to HR personally, as they too are internal organisational service providers. HR should report to Health and Safety, or HSE or Sheq.
In the modern behavioural approach to psycho-social issues in the UK, the HSE chaps deal with it, and a survey indicated that HR and psychologists were only supporting these psychosocial workplace issues. -Shane Lishman, in response to a report by Rudy Maritz (see his report on workplace Sheq culture in the UAE, in another post on Sheqafrica.com).
Where do Sheq managers and courses fit in?
Unisa apparently sees OHS as part of management, judging by its current change of the Safety Management degree to a BCom degree with safety modules.
In the earlier post, Rudy Maritz wrote that most Sheq managers worldwide agree that we are a profession, but some see us as a sub-field of human resources management. The South African occupational framework, OFO, sees OHS or Sheq managers as working in the human resources (HR) discipline.
The DoL adopted the use of the OFO (which extended ANZCO by incorporating additional occupations and occupational categories identified through research and consultation) as a tool for identifying, reporting and monitoring scarce and critical skills, and maintained it through an annual updating process.
This process and responsibility was taken over by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) five years ago.
Health and Safety and the OFO
According to the 2013 Organising Framework for Occupations (OFO), occupations are classified in eight main groups.
In the OFO, Health and Safety Managers (Sheq managers) fall in the main group of managers, and the sub-group of Human Resources. From a skills level point the HS or SHE Manager is on par with the HR manager, Recruitment Manager, Training Manager, Compensation and Benefits Manager, and Employee Wellness Manager.
The OFO Occupational Code for SHE Managers (121206) notes that this person manages, reviews and evaluates work environments, and oversees the design of programs and procedures to control, eliminate, and prevent disease or injury caused by chemical, physical, and biological agents or ergonomic factors.
Clearly, the DHET sees Health and Safety Management as a Human Resources function, and not a health (medical) or safety (engineering) function.
Contrary to Health and Safety or SHE Managers, practitioners fall under the Professional sub-group 226302. This person develops, implements and evaluates risk management policies and programs, trains employees in occupational health and safety procedures, monitors and audits the workplace, and records and investigates incidents to ensure safe and healthy working conditions.
Environmental Managers are described under 226301, with various other options. From a construction perspective, Construction Managers include Construction Project Managers, and various terms in the Engineering field. There is no classification for a Construction (SHE) Agent, Manager or Officer in the OFO.
Safety falls in various occupational unit-groups, and safety officers fall in some specialist groups, like mine safety officer, marine safety officer, fire safety officer, food safety officer, road safety officer, or safety and security officer.
The ultimate responsibility of Sheq practitioners (Sheq managers) is in planning, leading, co-ordinating, controlling and resourcing of those functions that achieve organisational compliance in best practices, wrote Martiz.
SHEQ cannot operate in isolation
Sheq practice does not operate in isolation, but is an overarching or horizontal function, integrating into every line function (vertical) within an organisation.
The ideal organisational structure should have a Sheq co-ordinator in each department, reporting to a Sheq manager and a Sheq champion at board level.
OHS has a very unique place in the business world. One of the key subjects recommended by Prof Phoon to the ILO, is the organisational functions within the OHS professions. Sheq managers serve administrative and organisational compliance, and are thus management functionaries.
• See the views of Prof Wai-On Phoon of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in an International Labour Organisation (ILO) publication, or in a summary in another post on Sheqafrica.com. These views contradict the current OFO structure.
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