Transnet safety manager Natalie Skeepers commented that the Construction Regulations amendment draft definition of ‘occupational safety practitioner’ as being “competent… certified… having knowledge, training, experience and qualifications… appropriate qualifications and training registered in terms of SAQA…” raises questions about which qualifications would be accepted, assessed, certified, or deemed sufficient.
“Most safety professionals in SA obtained qualifications in commercial short courses, or a diploma. SAQA accredited courses are still at basic levels. Would Samtrac graduates, for example, be certified?
“Who is the certification body intended in the draft legislation? Is it known and accepted by the state, business, academia, and the profession?” commented Skeepers.
“The new draft regulations pose an infringement of rights, by exclusion of some practitioners.”
“Since Ray Strydom and IoSM, a small and formerly exclusive body, developed a registration body and prompted legislation, the legislator seems to want us to be re-examined by certain people, or to join certain preconceived bodies.
“We have no experience of the rumoured registration body, OHSAP, and we do not know how if this body works in the interest of safety practice or the profession.
“The Department of Labour should reconsider all aspects of the registration initiative, and investigation initiative, in the draft”, Skeepers said.
Registration solves nothing
“It is a disappointment that the profession should need to be organised, regulated, controlled, managed, directed, and administered. There are too many gaps in the draft Construction Regulations, which is a subordinate legislation. This should be corrected in the OHS Act, to clear ambiguity among industrial sectors.
“We have neglected to organise ourselves as a profession. There were several attempts to unify the profession, but there were always ‘folds’, rifts and personal agendas”, Skeepers commented.
“Safety professionals, practitioners, and officers lag behind in training, status, organisation and salaries. The state does not have the capacity to manage or police the profession. Nor do any private bodies that I know of. Sadly, nor do any state education providers or training authorities.
“I will not be dictated to by a private registration body. I have knowledge, skills and qualifications for my job. The OHSAP and advisory council initiative is devoid of leadership, consultation, trust, and consensus, and at best indicates flaws in our education and training system, but could not fix those flaws with supposed ‘grading’ and ‘registration’.
“The Construction Regulations amendment draft proposal for registration is like an aircraft taking off without a flight plan or a map”, Skeepers said.
PHOTO; Transnet safety manager Natalie Skeepers is among the safety practitioners opposing the current format of enforced registration, proposed in the 2010 Construction Regulations amendment draft.