Hygienist body SAIOH drops Ohsap certification

South African Institute of Occupational Hygiene (SAIOH) certifies its own members since June 2011, replacing Ohsap board certification.

A SAIOH meeting in May 2011 had ruled that “the current Ohsap operating system was inappropriate for SAIOH purposes. SAIOH had requested Ohsap to consider a revised system acceptable to all parties,” wrote SAIOH president Melinda Venter in a circular to occupational hygienists.

Hygiene CDP points lacking

Ohsap certificates of are replaced with SAIOH branded member certificates. A SAIOH Professionals Certification Board (PCB, formerly OHPC) meeting in July 2011 recorded that 51% of members had not submitted proof of their 2010 continued professional development (CPD) points, and these members were at risk of deregistration.

The Ohsap board of registration was formed as a voluntary body by the Institute of Safety Management (IoSM) and SAIOH, when both were served by Ray Strydom as secretary. Strydom remains SAIOH secretary and Ohsap registrar. The voluntary body lobbies for legislation of safety practice registration, and for its own legal sanction in hygiene, health and safety practice.

Ohsap assessors include SAIOH official Ray Strydom, Steven Jansen van Vuuren, and other long time supporters of Strydom. Their initiative is opposed by construction bodies, safety practitioners, and an IoSM breakaway named Saiohs (not to be confused with SAIOH).

Hygiene AIA guide update

SAIOH council members met with the Department of Labour (DOL) in June 2011 to discuss updating an Approved Inspection Authority (AIA) guide. The review was presented to DOL advisory body, ACOSH, in August 2011.

SAIOH /DOL Hygiene Legal Knowledge certificate

Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) no longer offers a Hygiene Legal Knowledge certificate course and assessment, required by DOL to practice occupational hygiene. Former TUT Legal Knowledge Certificates are still accepted by DOL, and hygiene practitioners now have to pass a SAIOH Legal Knowledge certificate exam before a deadline to be set by DOL.

DOL meanwhile had lost its education and training functions, that were transferred to DHET early in 2011. DOL supports training quality mangement functions rendered by SANAS.

SAIOH and DOL plan to invite tenders to develop a written assessment for examining occupational hygiene professionals on SA occupational health and safety legislation, and to develop a relevant training course.

Hygiene Technology assessment

A Legal Knowledge certificate would be required for practitioners to write a SAIOH Occupational Hygiene Technologist assessment. Legal knowledge certificate exams will be written on the same day as SAIOH certification assessments in major cities.

DOL requires this certificate for occupational technologists and occupational hygienists serving an Approved Inspection Authority (AIA). Attending a Legal Knowledge course is not required to write a Legal Knowledge exam.

Assessment exams are based on the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act and Regulations, Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases (COID) Act, and DOL Guidelines on Occupational hygiene AIAs.

SANAS process

“DOL confirmed that AIAs will be part of the process. We have the opportunity to determine criteria, that would also affect costs”, said SAIOH. Members were invited to participate the process, whether they were nominated for the STC or not.

Occupational Hygiene Professionals Council (OHPC)

SAIOH’s Occupational Hygiene Professionals Council (OHPC) was renamed SAIOH Professionals Certification Board (PCB), and had applied for renewal of IOHA recognition of its certification scheme. This has to be done every five years, and was due in September 2011.

IOHA international training modules and SAIOH co-ordination thereof in southern Africa, was approved by OHTA. After a licensing agreement with a BOHS faculty, regarding course examination, these modules would be launched in SA.

SAIOH procured 2011 ACGIH booklets and is assisting interested members in gaining International Partners membership with BOHS. They will have direct and free access to the Annals of Occupational Hygiene.

Hygienists paying for Ohsap accreditation

Saioh membership invoices for 2011 cite two amounts: 2011 membership fee, and 2011 professional registration fee. “The reason is that Ohsap is preparing for SANAS accreditation,” wrote Saioh.

Ohsap board member Leighton Bennett told SHEQafrica.com in July 2011 that ‘Sanas accreditation goalposts had moved, the process was delayed, and Ohsap now has to start over within the Saqa draft policy’.

In explaining Ohsap registration of occupational hygienists, SAIOH writes that “in 1993 the Minister of Labour’s Advisory Council on Occupational Health and Safety (ACOHS) decided to form Technical Committee 8 to investigate establishment of a board of registration for occupational hygiene and safety practitioners.”

However, this explanation was misleading. The ACOHS decision was taken 18 years ago, under the previous government, and under sway of IoSM and future Ohsap members. ACOHS still includes a prospective registrar and representatives of prospective professional bodies. SGB 8 developed training standards at lowest level hygiene and environment practice, leaving occupational health and safety unexplored. Saqa never formed a registrar, but ACOHS and SGB 8 members did.

SAIOH continues; “After numerous discussions and reports [in IoSM and Saioh exec circles], the Board of Registration for Occupational Hygiene, Safety and Associated Professionals (BR OHSAP) was established for setting appropriate training standards for occupational hygiene, safety and associated professionals, and for registration of competent practitioners who meet laid down standards, in compliance with requirements of Saqa.”

Again, the memo was misleading on several scores. Saqa does not require practitioners to register, and there is no DOL or legal sanction of OHSAP.

SAOH continued; “Ohsap is recognised nationally [not true] and internationally [not true] as the body for establishment, advancement and maintenance of standards of education, training and practice of occupational hygiene, occupational safety and associated professionals [not true] in South Africa.”

“OHSAP board is comprised of members currently drawn from two founding professional institutes, SAIOH and IoSM, which represent occupational hygiene and safety practitioners in SA.”

SAIOH president Melinda Venter motivated occupational hygienists to support, and pay for Ohsap, in these words; ”Will you be sitting on the sideline as a doubting Thomas, criticising and seeing ‘what’s in it for me’, or will you be assisting by submitting yourself to SAIOH membership and [Ohsap] registration and providing us with feedback, positive criticism and helpful suggestions?”

Iosm split by Saiosh

Breakaway IoSM body Saiosh has no confidence in Ohsap, said to be dysfunctional and incapacpitated, and ridiculed at a launch of the Saiosh Gauteng branch, but ironically, their leaders remain IoSM members, in an apparently delayed executive revolution awaiting Strydom’s retirement.

Saioh organisational membership, or corporate membership, was introduced at the end of last year, as an addition to individual membership, writes Saioh president Melinda Venter in an official post. IoSM and Ohsap likewise follow corporate membership strategies, in a bid to involve employers in the registration scheme.

Competition for construction ‘ghost’ registration

In construction safety practice, there are close links between the breakaway voluntary body Saiohs, led by Neels Nortje, who is an employee at Master Builders Association (MBA) KZN, other MBA Gauteng employees, and occupational health and safety training and learnerships offered by MBA Gauteng.

Strydom had for decades groomed some Master Builders Association health and safety officials to form, sanction and support a construction H&S registration and training body under the auspices of his own IoSM.

SA Master Builders Associations (MBAs) warn employers and construction safety practitioners on their website against “misleading” recruitment for ‘registration’ services by self-appointed registrars.

PHOTO; SAIOH president Melinda Venter.

3 thoughts on “Hygienist body SAIOH drops Ohsap certification

  1. So where does this leave someone like me who is interested in becoming an occupational hygienist? Where should I go in order to register?
    I never realised that people promoting safety compliance could be so political!

  2. My manager and I would like to register as Occupational Safety Co-ordinators. What is the process to follow?

    Former editor replies; If you work in project management, or construction related work, contact the SACPCMP. I you work in an occupational health, higiene or medial related field, contact SAIOH. In other sectors, chart a career path and gain registered qualifications that are recognised in the RPL processesses of universities and technical universities.

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