The H&S practitioners in SA’s desire to belong to a professional association that gives them proper representation, keeps growing and resulted in the formation of three new voluntary associations in the “safety” field.
Association for Event Safety Officers (AESO)
We previously reported on the Event Safety Association to be established and this NPO under the leadership of Annemarie Buys. Registered with the Dept of Social Development as NPO under registration number Registration Certificate No. 161-469 AESO started in October 2015 and is committed to offering guidance to event organisers on specifically occupational health & safety at events in terms of the Safety at Sport & Recreation Events Act (2 of 2010).
Sheqafrica.com will provide more information on AESO in our next newsletter.
HSE Connection Point (HSECP)
Founded by Fabian Buckley, the organisation is a non-profit focused on the health, safety and environmental (hse) disciplines across the world but mainly focused within SA.
Their main focus is to assist other hse officers and professionals find employment, assist them with studies and bursaries and also to up-school them on the real life of a Hse professional.
Thus far they are up to a shaky start as their SACPCMP ties has caused some opposition.
We will provide more information on HSE Connection Point in our Member’s newsletter.
African Institute of Safety Engineering (AISE)
AISE is still in its infant stage and have not officially opened doors. The founders are Johan du Preez, a former SA mechanical engineer now residing in the UK who have teamed up with former founders from the Development Agency for Safety and Health and the now defunct IOSH SA.
AISE is a multi-national association for all Safety Engineering professionals on the African continent and will focus primarily on the role of the industrial, mechanical and electrical engineers working as technical directors in factories and mines. In SA, this would then apply to all the GMR2 appointees.
See our page on professional bodies for a list of Risk and Compliance related associations recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority to aid in the development of curriculum standards.
Do we need more?
With the vast number of Voluntary associations in a single professional segment, one has to ask if there is still room for more? Judging by the demand for professional designations in the absence of a recognised qualification for the “safety officers” of this world, the demand is constantly growing and more associations are needed to fill this gap, particularly in specialist fields such as Event Safety and Safety Engineering.
In the general sense of H&S practice, which is undoubtedly desperately seeking recognition as a profession, the three notable Voluntary associations currently operating are SAIOSH, IOSM and ACHASM.
The answer to the question is two-fold and the first being yes, the second being no.
Yes, we need more associations that represents specialist fields, either as industry specific or discipline specific groups.
No, when it comes to the multi-acronym SHERQ “profession”, the African business community do not need a “Catch-all” approach in order to recruit high-end executives. However, as SHERQ is a mere myth, it is always handy to employ blue-color practitioners with some form of “professional status”.
In the end it is a matter of economies of scale. Even the USA founded ASSE, recently adopted a catch-all approach by repositioning themselves to include all Safety Professionals.
What is interesting about the international model is that these associations offer member exams, and offer training courses to reach a certain level of professional prowes after achieving minimum entry requirements into the profession.
Internationally speaking, a H&S professional requires a degree from a recognised university before they can enter the profession and thereafter a post-graduation certification can be achieved via the association itself.
In South Africa, entry as a professional is accepted after a mere two weeks of training and thereafter further professional development is offered by a vast variety of training ventures.Unlike the international community, the practice of in-house certification by a VA is (in theory) prohibited by the SAQA in that an association may not offer training for the purposes of certification in a particular designation.
In practice however, this is a loop-hole exploited via recognition agreements and in some cases even commercial benefits or KFC, allowing a VA to “indirectly” offer training via a recognised “institution of its own preference”.