Posted on: March 29, 2010 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

SA Society of Occupational Health Nurses, SASOHN, wants the Department of Labour to establish a professional accreditation process, not semi-private registration bodies.

SASOHN president, Sonja Kruger, made the call in a response in March 2010 to the formation of a new organisation claiming to represent occupational health, hygiene and safety practitioners in KwaZulu-Natal province.

The new body, Saiohs, was formed by a provincial branch breaking from the Institute of Safety Management, IoSM, yet supports a registration system bid by former IoSM secretary Ray Strydom, named OHSAP.

SASOHN executive made five comments on professional representation, registration, and accreditation;

1. SASOHN does not support the formation of further organisations claiming to represent occupational health practitioners, since neither occupational health nurses, represented by SASOHN, nor occupational medical practitioners, represented by SASOM, were involved. Our members should resolve management problems internally. Creating breakaway societies would not resolve anything.

2. Neither of the two occupational health organisations were involved in drafting a constitution or electing office bearers of other, or related, OH organisations. SASOHN strongly believes that any organisational constitution should be a collaborative exercise involving related disciplines.

3. Professional representation of OH, safety and occupational hygiene practitioners, should be established under the umbrella of the Department of Labour, to ensure compliant services.

4. Professional registration of practitioners should remain within professional societies, and remain based on qualifications. Professional societies should function autonomously, supporting professional development of their members. SASOM and SASOHN members are registered with their respective councils, dependent on obtaining required qualifications. An additional registration process would only be costly and unnecessary.

5. Professional accreditation of occupational health, safety and hygiene services should be established within the Department of Labour.

Breakaway

The Institute of Safety Management (IoSM) KZN branch formed a rival organisation, Saiohs, that also challenges the established SA Institute of Occupational Hygiene (SAIOH) and SASOHN.

The new self-appointed SA Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (Saiohs) drained the IoSM KZN Coastal branch, and approached IoSM members to join up.

In response, IoSM president, Wilna Louw-Malan, advised her members in two memos on 2 March that “Saiohs was established by a small group of members from the IoSM KZN Coastal Branch. This group had not indicated a clear reason for their action other than indicating ‘a lack of confidence in the affairs and administration of IoSM at National level.’

IoSM see the motivation as “very inconclusive” and complained that Saiohs did not want to discuss the matter.

Saiohs objectives, benefits and purpose are “strongly similar to that of IoSM,” wrote Louw-Malan.

The name Saiohs is close to the established name of the SA Institute for Occupational Hygiene, SAIOH. “We believe that SAIOH is not too happy about this,” wrote Louw-Malan.

She said Saiohs was “a carbon copy of IoSM in terms of what it stands for, its structure, and even documentation used.”

Saiohs however is said to support registration of health and safety practitioners to Ray Strydom’s OHSAP, as does IoSM, where Strydom had been the leading personality for decades. The move puzzles some practitioners, and some practitioners suspected a conspiracy orchestrated by Strydom.

Louw-Malan said IoSM KZN Coastal branch would elect a new branch committee at the IoSM AGM.

PHOTO; SASOHN represents and registers occupational health nurses.

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