What is OHSAP?
OHSAP is the acronym for Registration for Occupational Hygiene, Safety and Associated Professions.
Why should you care?
In the draft Construction Regulations there is under definitions, an entry that reads as follows:
‘occupational safety practitioner‘ would mean “a person competent in occupational safety, AND certified as such by an institution accredited by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS), having the knowledge, training, experience and qualifications specific to occupational safety aspects of work or task being performed, provided that where appropriate qualifications and training are registered in terms of the South African Qualifications Authority Act, 58 of 1995, those qualifications and training shall be must be regarded the required qualifications and training.”
So if you think you are an occupational safety practitioner then you should be concerned because in the new Construction Regulations there might be a definition that can be used to regulate a whole profession. Not only Safety practitioners in the Construction industry, but every-one.
Now the first mystery is that the draft has a definition of an “occupational safety practitioner” but you will not find a reference to an occupational safety practitioner anywhere else in the regulations!
One can only conclude that this definition was planted there by someone that wants OHSAP to be written into legislation. Now who would want to do something like that?
Why should you care about OHSAP?
According to an article on www.engineeringnews.co.za published in 2003, OHSAP was formed by The Institutes of Occupational Safety and Hygiene, together with the Mine Ventilation Society to deal with the process of Health and Safety practitioner registration.
Now I do not know who the Institute of Occupational Safety and Hygiene is, I must presume that they are actually referring here to the Institute of Safety Management (IoSM).
Ray Strydom infers in that article that the purpose of OHSAP is to establish standards for “OH&S practitioners” through a registration process.
Now that article was written seven years ago when the first Construction Regulations was first promulgated. Fast forward to today and lo-and-behold, the new Construction Regulations contains a definition envisioning the establishment of just such an organisation as OHSAP!
What is more, OHSAP has started with accreditation through SANAS (South African National Accreditation System) long before the draft new Construction Regulations came out for comment. Now how did the OHSAP people (read Ray Strydom) know about that requirement?
Coincidence – I don’t think so.
Very convenient you would think, having a registration authority ready and waiting for the new Construction Regulations to become law. Very much so – especially if you are the man in control of that registration organisation. Like someone else said, it is like being awarded a tender before the tender documents have been completed.
How to write your business into law
What is nice about having a business that has been written into law, like in the case with OHSAP, is that it is like owning shares in the South African Bank Notes Company. In the morning you go to work, press the button and then you print money.
No wait, here is a better example; it is like owning the South African Revenue Service. The cherry on the top is that you do not have to care about customer service or the need to add value.
I take it you are referring to the registration with an institution which are accredited with SANAS as stipulated in the definitions of the Draft Regulations? It is not going to be a question of what benifits we as practitioner will be getting from it rather than the fact that practitioners that want to practice in this field will have to do as it will be law once the Regulations are promulgated.”
So said Neels Nortje of Master Builders Kwa-Zulu Natal who serves on the Minister of Labour’s Advisory Council for Occupational Health and Safety (ACOHS), representing Business Unity (BUSA) in reply to a query about the benefits of registration.
Now Neels stands by Ray Strydom and serves on ACOHS, the same body that was involved with drafting the new Regulations. Neels clearly does not think that the ability to provide benefits to the people that pay their registration fees should confuse the matter.
What is of concern to me is that this same line of “marketing” has been used by other OHSAP-groupies to promote the current premature registration drive. Over 300 people fell for it.
Friends with benefits
I have a lot of time for Neels Nortje but I think that in this case he is wrong. It is all about creating benefits. Benefits for Safety practitioners, their employers and the improvement of standards.
You see, Ray Strydom will be running OHSAP but he does not completely understand the process of adding value (creating benefits). Just look at his track record. It is my opinion that the reason why the Institute of Safety Management has been bleeding membership registrations the last ten years has pretty much to do with his management style.
Does he understand how to make money? Yes he does. Just see how the price for registration at SARS, oh… I mean OHSAP went up this year!
“SAIOHS has no explanation as to why OHSAP issued IoSM invoices for the registration fees nor why the fees changed from R200 to R550 to R750 in the same financial year. SAIOHS will keep members informed as and when they receive more information on the registration process.” – From the SAIOHS website
So what is the price now? Is it R750, maybe it is R1150. Where will the price be in 3 month’s time?
The man who Phillip Fourie (IoSM president) wants to run OHSAP is issuing IoSM invoices for fees that should go to OHSAP! He can also not decide what the fees should be. Was the 7 year head-start he had not enough time to get his ducks in a row?
What is going on here? Maybe administration is not Ray’s strong point.
In the May 2010 issue of the Occupational Risk Magazine I saw an advert placed by Edwilo Consultants. It is for a 2 day “Professional Registration Preparatory Training Course”. Wilna Louw (Edwilo) who knows Ray Strydom very well, has been authorized to “prepare” candidates for registration.
I understand that Ray Strydom also has some literature you can purchase to ease the way towards registration.
Ca-ching! See where this is going?
And rumours are that other “service providers” are preparing to assist with the “upliftment” of the poor standards of Safety professionals around the country. No doubt these service providers will turn out to be very good friends of Ray Strydom as well.
Hallelujah my brothers and sisters, salvation is at hand, put your hands in the air and give me all your money!
Members without benefits
My very ruff calculation of how big the market could be for Ray Strydom’s new business looks like this:
If you take the criteria you will find on the IoSM-website for the ROSCords, ROSPracs and ROSProfs then my guestimate would be that we are looking at around 10 000 to 20 000 potential members. You could do the sums yourself – calculate the costs of:
- the registration fees,
- the courses you will have to attend in order to be rubber stamped,
- the time it will take you to get some service,
- all the other seminars and courses you will need to attend to help you stay “up to date.”
Now calculate what this might cost you and your employer every year.
You know what the best part is – there is no proof or a guarantee that OHSAP will have any impact on the quality or status of Safety professionals, or have a tangible impact on the levels of occupational safety in this country.
We should actually not refer to membership or registration fees, let us rather call this the strydom-tax.
Ke Nako – It is time
Remember that this silly definition in the draft Construction Regulations can be used to organize not only the Safety practitioners in the Construction sector, but practitioners everywhere.
Also note that if Safety practitioners do not grow some serious backbone pretty quickly, this new tax will become law as Neels Nortje said. Speak-up now or pay the price for the rest of your working life.
I say Safety practitioners should start a fund and everyone donates R2000.00. (Because this is what I think this new Safety practitioner tax can cost you a year) If 10 000 practitioners donate money to the fund we can present Ray Strydom with a golden handshake and ask him to retire. We can even ask him nicely.
Now that would have immediate benefits!