Posted on: July 20, 2011 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 1

Three membership bodies are competing to ‘register’ construction health and safety practitioners, two calling Gauteng launch meetings, on 21 and 26 July 2011.

Saiosh, Achasm and Ohsap are among the ‘construction health and safety registrars’ positioning their alliances, capacity and membership, in expectation of changes in the Construction Regulations, and perhaps alter in the OHS Act, that may require practitioners to register.

Fees from membership, examinations, registration, continued professional development (CPD), as well as indirect income, influence and authority in training standardisation and training provision is at stake.

Achasm Gauteng meeting on 21 July

Achasm, led by Anton Krause, claims support from construction industry statutory bodies, like SACPCMP and leading Western Cape and Eastern Cape construction academics Dr Theo Haupt and Prof John Smallwood.

Achasm has called a public meeting and Gauteng branch launch for 21 July 2011 at Jeppe Conference Centre in Boeing Road, off Van Buren Road, at 14:30, register via info@achasm.co.za

Association of Construction Health And Safety Management (Achasm) chairman Anton Krause responded to queries from SHEQafrica.com that “Achasm is a construction specific OHS voluntary association, committed to the SA Council for Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP) OHS process since July 2010, when the Built Environment Council (BEC) mandated SACPCMP to look at developing a framework for registration of construction Client Appointed Health and Safety Agents, Construction Health and Safety Managers or Coordinators, Construction Health and Safety Officers, and Candidate Construction Health and Safety Officers.

“This is essential if we want construction health and safety to… follow an integrated approach required for Construction Regulation (2003) duty holders.”

Achasm is promoting individual and corporate membership. On its website, Achasm says it requires its members to be “properly qualified in the opinion of the Achasm executive committee” and “professionally qualified in an occupational health and safety discipline, by an approved university or university of technology, or have five years construction health and safety experience, or be employed by an Achasm corporate member.”

Achasm also wants its members to be “be enrolled on a mentorship programme at a corporate member” and “pass tests or complete courses on construction health and safety as set by Achasm”.

Saiosh Gauteng meeting on 26 July

Saiosh, led by Robin Jones and Neels Nortje, claims support from construction industry membership bodies like the Master Builders Association (MBA) KwaZulu-Natal, and MBA Gauteng.

Saiosh has called a public meeting and Gauteng branch launch for 26 July 2011 at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park at 14:00, register via saiosh@vodamail.co.za

Saiosh said that “a number of enquiries have been received from [Saiosh] members, asking for establishment of a branch in Gauteng… it is possible that more than one [Saiosh Glauteng] branch may need to be formed.”

The meeting would hear a presentation on Saiosh, establishment branches, and discuss “professional OHS registration”.

The ambition of Saiosh to serve sheq practitioners in all industry sectors, is clear from the invitation; The meeting is “not a meeting only for Saiosh members… [but for] all persons… that operate in the field of occupational health and safety.”

Saiosh president Robin Jones told SHEQafrica.com that they have 620 members, 50 corporate members and seven branches, including three in Eastern Cape and one in Sasolburg.

Ohsap and IoSM claim Saiosh support

Ohsap, formed by the Institute of Safety Management (IoSM), led by Ray Strydom, continues recruiting members and presenting itself as a general occupational health and safety practice ‘registrar’.

An IoSM Gauteng meeting in March 2011 discussed Ohsap positioning and promotion at length, and noted that “Saiosh had indicated that it supports the Ohsap route.”

However, Saiosh had last year complained to SHEQafrica.com that it should not be seen as a subsidiary or KZN provincial arm of IoSM or Ohsap. Saiosh was formed by a provincial committee breakaway from IoSM.

Few South African construction health and safety practitioners have degrees, and those that do, are mostly registered with large professional bodies in the USA or Europe. Some diploma level practitioners have opted for UK qualifications. The few general sheq practitioners eligible for professional registration, have likewise opted for overseas registration.

PHOTO; Saiosh president Robin Jones (on photo) and Saiosh ‘registrar’ Neels Nortje lead the new IoSM KZM breakaway body, but are claimed to support IoSM’s Ohsap ‘registrar’ Ray Strydom. The new construction health and safety body Achasm ‘registrar’ is Anton Krause, supported by statutory construction bodies and leading academics. Neither are supported by legislation or a majority of practitioners.

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  1. Ok, so after all the dust has settled, it appears to me that ACHASM and SAIOHS are only, and will only, be testing and registering CONSTRUCTION safety personnel and in only one catergory.

    It appears IoSM [OHSAP] is capable of testing and registering in various catergories of industry and at three different levels of expertise.
    AM I MISSING SOMETHING?

    Registration dust not settled

    Sheqafrica.com editor Sheqafrica responds; Achasm said they planned to register construction health and safety practitioners on levels relevant to statutory construction functions. The service would involve an annual fee, ongoing RPL and CPD, and each upgrade would involve a re-assessment and/or exam and registration process.

    Saiosh is registering general HS practitioners at different levels. Ohsap is doing likewise on three levels. The phrase ‘capable of testing’ is the bone of contention, and ‘registering’ is a statutory function for which no statute yet exists.

    For insight into the gulf that separates prospective registrars from bodies like ASSE and the Australian equivalent, see their large manuals that govern assessment, quality assurance, RPL, CPD, representation, advocacy and related functions of the international professional memership bodies.

    The future of South African sheq practice self organisation remains obscured in a cloud of sectoral fragmentation, fossil organisations, skeletal organisations, hidden agendas, and massive start-up costs involving hiring training consultants to write training standards, functions, forms, addenda and similar missing components.

    The Department of Labour seems resolved to pass on these costs to sheq practitioners, instead of developing practicable legislation, including the functions, forms and addenda that they now want to leave to industry to develop.

    The result could be an elaborate tickbox exercise, while ironically, Achasm says it aims to replace compliance tickbox exercises in construction health and safety.

    I expect that ‘independent’ training to be sanctioned by our prospecltive registrars, and their ‘impartial; exams, would add yet another layer of compliance and cost that employers would find ways to ‘comply’ to, while sheq legislation and sheq practice continue drifting apart. Dust tends to settle on useless compliance documents.

    I find some optimism in revelations that South Africa is not alone in misplacing its sheq trust on complianice procedures, instead of training and corporate governance. Note that in the USA, West Virginia, Upper Big Branch coal mine, the official investigation into a disaster had found that enforcement was lacking, compliance was a paper exercise, while managers and health and safety officials had kept two sets of sheq documents, one that they considered ‘real’ and one for reporting and inspection purposes (see a blog on this event by David Broadbent on Sheqafrica.com).

    Industry is perpetually at risk of compliance mentatlity. Registration that relies on future legislation, would be a major step in the wrong direction. – Sheqafrica

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