Sheq terminology and acronym guide

Sheq terminology and practice runs on acronyms. Here is a helpful guide to be read in conjunction with your legal register and safety rep!

[] Basic education; The enforced system that teaches children how to cross the street safely with Danny the Cat.

[] Motto; A low form of wit for dumbing down issues to a political level. If intrinsically true and ideomatic, it could be a rallying cry and reflection of esprit de corps. For example, ‘Zero Harm’, or ‘Safety first’, or ‘Driving down the incident rate’, are intrinsically false and misleading, and supports a culture of window-dressing, under-reporting, rationalisation, and fluctuating priorities, instead of reflecting core values.

[] CAIA; Chemical and Allied Industries Association, forum for process safety (quarterly in Johannesburg and Durban), dangerous goods transport, and petrochemicals product stewardship. Mother body of Responsible Care.

[] CBE; Don’t worry, it may be scrapped 2015.

[] Designations in Sheq; SACPCMPKFCoff, Chsman, Conenghsagent, Saiohtec, Hygprod, Ohprof, Rayprac, Roshspam, Coughprof, Ohsfee, Ohsfriend, Ohsgrad, Onetrack, Twotrack, SAQI, HRcoDoG; and Candidate levels for each of the above; Nadsam, BTech, EAPSA, SASOHN, ASSE, UK IOSH (Note to HR officers; The last six may be real qualifications, or designations based on real qualifications. Hard to tell. Best do a background check, interview, appointment, induction, trial period, and training procedures for all OHS applicants).

[] DOL; Department of Labour, a bureaucracy that runs and enforces the state employment agency, employment equity roadshows, turns around the Compensation Fund, runs the Unemployment Insurance Fund, advocates the banning of child labour, signs treaties with foreign governments, ratifies treaties with the ILO, hires lawyers to write laws and regulations, consults uncles, designates SACPCMP uncles to hire other uncles, conducts sporadic safety inspection blitzes, fines some hazardous work sites, trains inspectors, cracks down on foreign workers, and measure performance by the number of laws passed.

[] EAPSA, Environmental Assessment Practitioners SA, a registrar supported by most practicing EAPs, to gain legal sanction from the DEA in 2015.

[] Fines; One of the Costs of Business in SA.

[] Hazard; Any item or condition that may cause or aggravate harm, in its reasonably expected context. A bucket of water is harmless, but it is a hazard at a nursey school, or placed on top of a bookshelf, or in a parking lot. Relative competence of the people in the context, determine the hazard attached to the item or condition, and determine the risk. Hazard may be an obsolete term, since hazards without risk are unimportant. See Risk.

[] Higher education; The enforced system that teaches students elementary sciences and skills. There have been talk that it may consider suggesting that universities include OHS modules in engineering and some other courses.

[] IOSH SA; See Saiosh.

[] IOSH UK; A European registrar, that takes little interest in South African practitioners or organisations.

[] IOSM /OHSAP; A retailer in voluntary safety designations, and a few extra SACPCMP points, with a split bank account to pay contractors and service providers.

[] Isims; People who pay Joep to pay Ray for their designations.

[] ISO certification; Third party confirmation that your management system addresses legal compliance, other liabilities, and voluntary standards of best practice in your sector. The 2015 update will force auditors to challenge management for evidence that they measure and ducment systemic results.

[] Koos Duvenhage, or Safety Koos; (1) A South African OHS professional working in the UK, who has wide experience to share. (2) A mascot, byword, or example of Sheq skills, of the brain drain. (3) The kind of ouk who just would not put up or shut up.

[] Ladder; A basic tool for testing risk tolerance, arrogance, and idocy. An instrument to demonstrate that risk awareness, training, inspection, correct use, accessories, supervision, and current experience are factors of safety; and that assumptions about entry level or ‘universal’ skills are factors of risk. One ladder incident could ruin a project or even a company. Some Sheq auditors start with ladders and chairs as indicators of the quality of the rest of the management system.

[] Learnership; A skills system that exists mostly on paper, but some learners have been spotted.

[] NHLS; National Health Laboratory Services, supposed to test and research some occupational health and hygiene exposures.

[] NIOCCSA; A lobby group of consultants, trying to save the state and Sheq Officers the cost and mutual embarrassment of ‘professional’ registration of OHS Officers.

[] NQF; the SA National Qualifications Framework that believes skills should conform to laws. ’If there is an OHS Act, there should be OHS professionals!”

[] NRCS; National Regulator of Compulsory Specifications, tests imported fish, pretends to test products of SABS clients, maintains a large board and structure that will be dismantled and moved from SABS to DTI in 2015.

[] NWU; North West University, SA centre of excellence in tertiary environmental training.

[] Oom; Member of a voluntary executive or board. See Uncle.

[] Process safety management; See CAIA.

[] Profession; A job directly linked to a particular science, a body of research, and a specialised programme in education, training, mentorship, and experience; updated by developments in technology and experience in practice. Ideally, professions are not formed in response to hybrid legislation, such as occupational health and safety, or hybrid business strategies such as occupational Sheq functions.

[] Psychocorp; An organisation that believes its own semi-plausible lies. For example, SAQA believes that the recognised professional bodies will raise skills; SACPCMP believes it will reduce construction incidents by registering construction OHS Officers; SAIOH believes it is a statutory body; SAIOSH believes it represents and registers OHS practice; IOSM believes it represents, registers, and self-governs occupational safety practice; DOL believes it is professionalising OHS practice by enforcing sectoral registration via designated bodies; SABS believes that condom failure and electrical appliance shocks are acts of God, standardised at 2%, which is equal to the average number of times you get caught out, and that EU standards are equal to SANS standards.

[] QCTO; The new vocational training authority, above Setas, below the Higher Education, about to publish the first Occupational Health and Safety Practitioner Curriculum Standard, that training providers may use to standardise their course content. To assure the quality of training providers following the standard, the QCTO has contracted DSQ SA as an Assessment Quality Partner (AQP).

[] Responsible Care; A global system of voluntary chemicals product stewardship, run in SA by CAIA.

[] Risk; Any hazard, condition, or activity that could cause harm in a specific context involving people. A bucket of water at a nursery school, or in a dim parking lot, or a forklift driven by an untrained, untested and unsupervised driver, is a risk. Relevant competence is the main element of risk assessment. Measured by the potential frequency of exposure, and potential severity. See Hazard.

[] Saai-os; A person who buys a designation from Saiosh /IOSH SA.

[] SACPCMP; The construction health and safety registrar to be enforced on employers in August 2015. Construction employers would then theoretically hire only registered OHS people, creating and artificial shortage in supply. The council consists mainly of DPW procurement officials and DPW consultants and contractors.

[] Saioh; SA Institute of Occupational Hygiene, a voluntary body claiming statutory status, recognised by most practicing hygienists.

[] Saiosh /IOSH SA; A retailer in ‘health’ and safety ‘designations’ and some extra SACPMP points, with a split bank account to pay contractors and service providers.

[] SANS; SA National Standards, a body of enforced or voluntary standards, mainly overwritten from Europe, some of which are effective in Africa, some not so much.

[] SAQA; The SA Qualifications Authority that gives effect to the NQF, and recognises every man and his cat with a name written in capital letters, as a professional body.

[] SASOHN; SA Society of Occupational Health Nurses, a specialised medical profession registrar.

[] SASRU; Safety and Related Services Union, formed in 2014, recruiting in 2015.

[] Setas; Don’t worry, they exist only in the budgets of the state and employers who pay skills levies. However training providers that did not at least try to register, may be treated with caution.

[] SHEEP; People who did a two-day course as prerequisite for a five-day course.

[] Sheq practitioner; A generalist with some valuable skills in either occupational safety, health, hygiene, environment, or quality.

[] Sheq professional; A mythical person who has tertiary qualifications in occupational safety, and occupational health, and environmental impact management, and quality management, or two of the above.

[] Skills levies; One of the Costs of Business (COBs) in South Africa. Some people know people who were trained for free because their employer claimed back some funds.

[] Statutory body; A voluntary body that is mentioned in passing in a provision allowing a group of practitioners to elect a committee and consult with their peers. Some succeed in promoting self-regulation among their clients in a launch phase that could last a decade or two.

[] Tertiary education; The voluntary system that teaches students pure sciences without the rudiments of practical skills.

[] THA; Traditional Healers Association, one of several such professional bodies under the Allied Health Council, whose members may issue sick notes.

[] Toolbox talk; an informal, domcratic forum on site where the differences between life and death, gain and injury, health and loss, quality and failure is discussed. No kidding.

[] Training levy; Fees paid by employers to Setas from which they could theoretically claim back some of the expenses of training.

[] UFS; University of the Free State, SA centre of excellence in tertiary legal OHS training.

[] Uncle; Also a member of a voluntary executive or board. See Oom.

[] Unisa; SA centre of excellence in SA explosives management.

[] NWU; North West University, SA centre of excellence in tertiary environmental management training.

[] Wits; SA centre of excellence in tertiary engineering, mining sustainability and OH training.

• Corrections or additions to the draft list of Sheq terminology and acronyms are welcome in the Comment column below.
* See detailed serious posts on relevant subjects on

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2 thoughts on “Sheq terminology and acronym guide

  1. Here are a few more acronyms and definitions:
    SHIT – Safety & Health Induction Training
    BULL – Baseline Upper Limb Limits, in ergonomics
    TSYSTSYF – A Viagra ad gone soft. The sooner you start, the sooner you finish. An SACPCMP slogan to promote registration
    BRA – Baseline Risk Assessment or an item of female underwear
    EISH – Economical Impact of Safety & Health
    DRA – Design Risk Assessment
    AIA – a racist term for a domestic worker /Approved Inspection Authority
    IOSM – I Own So Much!
    LOL – Limit of Liability in insurance, aka Laugh out loud
    LOI – Limit of Indemnity in insurance
    WCS – Worst Case Scenario in insurance
    EML – Estimated Maximum Loss in insurance
    MAL – Maximum Assured Loss
    SIF – Self Insurance Fund
    MPD – Maximum Potential for Disaster, in insurance
    Gap Cover – A SIF to cover the difference between LOL and EML (SIF = EML – LOL)
    Moron – a Candidate Saai-os
    Oxymoron – a SACPCMP registered Candidate who is also a Candidate Saai-os
    Q – Inadequate Qualifications, aka NQF
    EQ – Experience Quantum
    Interview – a process to confirm that you know less than the interviewer
    Exam – a test of whether you were coached to pass the test
    Peer – A person who agrees with everything you say
    Peer Review – Confirmation that both of you are correct
    Recognition – Anything you want as long as you make a financial contribution
    Prostitution – Same as recognition, but you enjoy paying for it

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