A year of challenges and resilience

A year of challenges and resilience

It has been a year of unprecedented volatility. A perfect storm of sorrow, uncertainty and disruption. Covid-19 has fast-tracked the economy and demanded of us some weighty introspection, agility and adaptability. In a remark attributed to renowned scientist Charles Darwin, it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the one most adaptable to change.

The crisis has accelerated the transition to contactless work and automation. The rapid advancement of technology and new working conditions have required OHS Legislation and Regulations to change faster.

Health and safety (H&S) professionals must be commended for their dedication and resilience to protecting the H&S of millions of workers. Many of my colleagues indicated that the relevance of “I am my brother’s keeper” played a significant role in the prevention of Covid-19 infections at their workplaces. We have also seen an increasing use of technology at the workplace to enhance H&S.

The latest numbers, published by Statistics South Africa, indicate that there are 16,37 million people employed (in both the formal and informal sectors of South Africa). There are 5,98 million people who are unemployed.

As of November 2020, since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown period, the Compensation Fund, RMA, and FEM had received a total of 10 684 claims. At this stage, it represents a reasonably low infection rate in the workplace. Unfortunately, there were nine fatalities.

To come up with ideas to remain valuable to its members, Saiosh swiftly implemented several projects to assist members, including:

• Establishing a Membership Fee Relief Fund,

• Joining the Food Forward food campaign,

• Hosting Covid-19 webinars,

• Establishing an online Covid-19 Information Forum,

• Facilitating a R380 000 PPE donation for SMME contractors, and

• Continuing to deliver all its normal membership services.

Saiosh also signed a Memorandum of Undertaking (MOU) with the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) as well as with the New Zealand Institute of Safety Management (NZISM). The MOU with NZISM includes the mutual recognition of each other’s membership grades.

During the year, Saiosh registered 2 435 new members, bringing the total number of persons registered by Saiosh since its inception to more than 17 000.

A special thanks to the excellent staff of Saiosh for their dedication and commitment during the year. The CEO, Neels Nortjé, must be acknowledged for being an exemplary leader of a team displaying multi-disciplinary skills to meet and exceed critical strategic targets. The passion displayed by this highly effective team has consistently been phenomenal.

My thanks also go to Saiosh stakeholders for their continued support and participation in Saiosh activities.

We honour and pay thanks to Saiosh members for their professionalism and dedication to making the workplace healthier and safer so that workers can go home safe to their families.

Published by

Sanjay Munnoo

Sanjay Munnoo has over 15 years’ experience in the risk and financial services industries. He started his career at Alexander Forbes and now works at FEMA as Regional Manager. He held several leadership positions including that of chairman of the board at the Workers Accident and Rehabilitation Centre, and chairman of the KZN MBA Health and Safety Committee. Sanjay is a Chartered Member of Saiosh (CMSaiosh) and was appointed as president of Saiosh in June 2017. He is currently completing a PhD in Construction Management.
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