The South African Institution of Occupational Safety & Health as been rubbed a bit of egg on the face after its application for extension of the March ’22 deadline has been denied.
The Institution applied for an extension of the deadline for First Aid Training Organisations to register with the Department of Higher Education in order to keep their approval with the Department of Employment and Labour.
The Chief Inspector of OHS at DEOL responded that it published the first notice in August 2017, whereby first aid training organizations were informed of the requirement to be accredited with Quality Assurance Bodies for first aid. Thus, for the past three years and more, the first aid training organizations have been aware of this process. It must also be noted that the period has been extended twice already since the first publication.
The engagement between your organization and QCTO is commendable and appreciated, but the Department has no control over that process to guarantee that by March 2022, the discussions will be finalized. Therefore, the request to further extend the period to March 2022 cannot be granted as the issue which you pointed out emanates on the side of the Department of Higher Education and its entities.
We are getting successful applications coming from the QCTO currently. Other administrative matter such as the delay in the uploading of students to the SAQA NRLD is outside the mandate of the Department of Employment and Labour.
Could this be Karma?
When the Development Agency of Safety and Health (DASH) tried the same thing with the Construction Regulations, it was apposed by SAFCEC and Master Builder’s OHS manager at the time.
The picture seems to be a bit bigger than the SAIOSH checklist vision.
The DEOL approves First Aid training in terms of General Safety Regulation 3(4) under the Occupational Safety Act of 1993. The approval is granted based on the fact that any other legislative and quality control requirements imposed on the industry has been met prior to such approval.
When the regulations was first published in 1986 it include the SA Red Cross, ST John’s Ambulance and the First Aid League as approved training providers.
It also provided that “any other organisation approved by the Chief Inspector” can be included in this list. At that time the then Department of Manpower had its own criteria for approving First Aid training providers.
As SA moved into a more open and transformative country many of the laws governing training has changed. And it was these changes that prevented the previously approved organisations from continuing without having to adopt to the changes.
SAIOSH took it upon themselves to tackle this, as it it’s not within their mandate under the profession they represent, to also represent the “soon to be barred” First Aid Training Organisations.
The Chief Inspector did however confirm that they are getting successful applications coming from the QCTO currently. So why extend the deadline any further?
Did SAIOSH do the same for Construction Health and Safety Registration? NO!
In stead they urged their members to get in line or get out of construction. No wonder very few of their executives are registered with the SACPCMP.
SAIOSH now intends, in terms of Section 35(3) of the Occupational Health & Safety Act, to appeal against the Chief Inspector’s decision. But if egg on their face is not enough, they now would need to convince the Labour Court that it can make the decision.
The Labour Court does however not have jurisdiction over matters of Higher Education and the appeal will not succeed.
As an alternative SAIOSH may apply for a declaratory order from the High Court to determine if their appeal is warranted. But from the looks of it, SAIOSH is giving its “first aid” members a band-aid and will not achieve anything but to destroy their hope.
Their only other hope is to look at the Constitution, but as this is a matter of balancing of rights, the Institution will be making a bigger ass of themselves than already done.
The Notice SAIOSH is unhappy about was published in June 2020 and stated that all applications for approval from a person or organization who wants to provide First Aid Training approved by the Chief Inspector, as referred to in Regulation 3(4) of the General Safety Regulation published under Government Notice R1031 of 30 May 1986, will only be considered if it is accompanied by a valid accreditation document issued by the Quality Assurance Body that has been delegated the quality assurance responsibilities for First Aid unit standards by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), established in terms of section 261(1) of the Skills Development Amendment Act, 2008, and has been authorized by the Chief Inspector to carry out such accreditation.
Compliance in relation to the Accreditation with the Quality Assurance Bodies as mentioned above is extended until 31 March 2021. This notice is an extension of the previous notice which expired on 31 March 2020.
The second extension was due to the National Disaster Management Act. Yet SAIOSH is still not happy. Perhaps a permanent “Stay of Execution” is more to their liking, but as a professional body representative a group of people all to eager to stop a construction site for an administrative violation this reflects a great deal of hypocrisy.
Afterall, its just an Administrative requirement to get QCTO approval. So get it done or change direction.