Posted on: September 16, 2008 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

South Africa. Talks between the executive committees of the Rope Access and Fall Arrest Association (Rafaa) and the Specialist Access Engineering and Manufacturers Association (Saema) have led to an agreement to integrate the two associations into one all encompassing entity, the Institute for Work at Height (IWH).

The new institute will be registered as a non-profit organisation, and the responsibilities and duties of Rafaa and Saema will fall under IWH’s umbrella.

The decision to restructure stemmed from the recognition that Rafaa and Saema share many common objectives and activities within the same sphere of industry, the most obvious commonality being that both associations comprehensively cover all work-at-height fields of activity.

They are both affected by regulations that appear in the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the subsequent Construction Regulations within the Act. Both associations also engage in continuous dialogue and interaction with the Department of Labour.

Another commonality between Rafaa and Saema are the two associations’ respective involvement in the development of unit standards, skills programmes and recognition of prior learning programmes, using the same outsourced expertise.

Rafaa chairperson Bob Woods says that skills development in the industry will be one of the key roles of the new IWH, IWHch will act as a mouthpiece for the industry.

Woods says the training and certification system has been alligned with the country’s developing National Qualifications Framework. SABS standards were also aligned with the requirements of Saqa, resulting in eight separate unit standards in rope access and fall arrest skills training.

The transition to the new structure will take effect within a matter of weeks, Woods concludes. "It is hoped that the newly formed IWH will attract many new members in the different categories of membership, resulting in greater representation of the work at height industry as a whole."

Source: Engineering News
By: Darren Parker
Published: 12 Sep 08 – 0:00