From the president’s desk

From left: Saiosh president, Robin Jones, handing over an honorary membership certificate to Tibor Szana, chief inspector at the Department of Labour.

A very exciting letter has been received from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). It requires that all registered private higher education institutions or colleges must be audited annually for occupational health and safety (OHS) compliance. What is new is that the auditor has to be registered by Saiosh, at graduate level

The DHET sent us a formal letter stating that all private higher education institutions have been advised that all OHS audits may only be conducted by an auditor, registered by Saiosh at graduate level. The auditors’ membership details must be included in the audit report submitted to the DHET.

OHS Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Workshops

We recently completed another round of OHS CPD workshops in Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. The total attendance was more than 400 members and visitors. These workshops are free to members in good standing. Attendance earns valuable CPD points.

The topic for this tour was the latest news on the OHS Bill, as well as the changes to the pressure equipment regulations and notes on the recently published regulations for driven machinery.

The presenters from the Department of Labour (DoL) included Jakes Malatse, Pieter Laubscher, as well as the chief inspector, Tibor Szana – who presented at all four venues. Saiosh is extremely grateful for the time taken by the DoL to speak at our workshops.

Despite his busy schedule, the chief inspector put aside time to be with our members. This is not the first time that Szana has dedicated time to talk to practitioners on the work that he does, and the interaction between the DoL and the OHS practitioners.

For this passionate service to the business of preventing injuries and protecting employees, Saiosh decided to recognise Szana’s role by awarding him an honorary membership, which was handed to him at the Johannesburg workshop.

Unified Professional OHS Body

A document that has been circulating and was recently published in the National Safety magazine, states that there is a “proliferation of OHS bodies” and these should be amalgamated into a single body with a new name, new constitution, new logo, new membership designation and new membership criteria.

When this document was first received, our council gave it serious consideration and finally rejected it as an unworkable proposal.

These are our reasons:

• There may be different related bodies working in the occupational health and safety (OHS) field, but they perform specialised work and have their own identities. These include the South African Institute of Occupational Hygiene (SAIOH) and the Institute for Working at Height (IWH);

• There is only one professional body recognised by name and that is the South African Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Professionals (Saiosh);

• There are already other organisations, each doing similar work, but with different specialities, which are recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The accounting/auditing professions, which centre on finance, have 12 professional bodies. If we add in bankers, tax advisors, finance advisors (broadly involved in finance) there are another six professional bodies;

• Saiosh is the largest professional body in the OHS field with over 5 000 members;

• Subject to an official audit, I would claim that our membership is greater than the total of all the three other bodies in the OHS field;

• Our two objectives are simply to do whatever we can to educate, guide, motivate, mentor and lobby for the OHS profession and to do the same for the professionals;

• We have too many member benefits to list here. Interested persons are invited to check the benefits on the website:

Our final thought is that if OHS professionals are looking for a body that will look after them, then a professional body – Saiosh – already exists.

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