Occupational health and nursing in the spotlight
Between November 6 and 8, 2013, the South African Society of Occupational Health Nursing Practitioners (Sasohn) held its Environment, Industry, Safety and Health conference and AGM. SHEQ MANAGEMENT attended to learn more about this important organisation.
The word eish was on the lips of the 280 delegates who attended the 33rd Sasohn Conference and AGM, held at Emperors Palace on Gauteng’s East Rand, in early November 2013. Indeed, it was the theme for the event: EISH – Environment, Industry, Safety and Health.
The event was split into three days, covering pre-conference workshops, the conference itself and then the AGM. The aim was to keep delegates up to date with legislation and new trends in occupational health. (In addition to the conference and AGM, the Society also holds an academic day each year.)
The conference day covered topics pertinent to occupational health nursing practitioners (OHNP) and their profession, as well as to issues they may encounter in their daily tasks. Some of these included: Knowing your Labour Rights as an OHNP, presented by Leigh McMaster of Solidarity and Fatigue Management in the Workplace, presented by Dr Tongai Mukwewa from Tongaat Hulett Sugar.
Sasohn national treasurer Linda Stokes says delegates found that the conference provided them with a great learning curve, while all seven conference speakers and three workshop hosts were pleased with the delegates’ attendance and enthusiasm.
According to Sasohn president Kim Davies, the society is 30 years old and currently has over 12 000 members with an OHS qualification on its database. She explains that the Society’s roles within the profession are to:
• Promote the highest-possible standards in occupational health nursing practice by encouraging accreditation and upgraded professional qualifications;
• Develop professional capacity and excellence through presentation of workshops, conferences and training projects;
• Provide a supportive network for OHNPs working in a business environment and a forum for sharing problems and experiences;
• Encourage the cost-effective delivery of quality occupational health services in South Africa; and
• Promote adherence by organisations to legal requirements set in terms of current legislation.
Within this, Sasohn aims to:
• Upgrade the professional image of occupational health nursing through improving standards and professional qualifications;
• Identify research projects and assist current research students;
• Build relations with other bodies involved in occupational health nursing;
• Go “back to basics” through regional society management and mentorship; and
• Advise national policies and guidelines.