Safety registration would sow confusion

Certification of health and safety professionals in all sectors is a good idea, but would founder in disagreement among government departments, says a former chief inspector.

Manie Mulder, a former SA Labour Department chief inspector, commented; “The Construction Regulations amendment drat appears to be open-ended, and may create more confusion and raise more questions than it would solve.

“It is clear that the purpose of the draft amendment is to require the compulsory appointment of persons with demonstrable competency in health and safety in the construction field. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the amendments probably do not go far enough.

“When I was chief inspector, the idea was to create a national statutory body under the auspices of the Department of Labour to oversee and regulate qualifications, certification and accreditation of health and safety professionals.

“This idea was mooted in South Africa long before the establishment of the British National Examination Board for Health and Safety (NEBOSH).

“Unfortunately the idea perished in South Africa due to politics, inter departmental disagreements, and objections from various quarters, notably at the time from NOSA, BIFSA, and the Chamber of Mines. There are also divergent interests among various persons and organisations.

“Stakeholders should aside their parochial interests and form a national authority, or the department may have to establish an authority.”

PHOTO; Former Labour chief inspectors Manie Mulder is among the safety professionals debating enforced registration of practitioners, proposed in the 2010 Construction Regulations amendment draft.

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