Greater vigilance against risks
Greater vigilance against risks
The global population has now passed eight billion. Demand and supply of products and resources are increasing exponentially; an associated larger workforce and new technologies will heighten occupational risks.
Hopefully, the International Labour Organization’s annual health and safety (H&S) statistics will not scale up accordingly. A combined global H&S collaboration effort could eventually lead to a gradual decline in occupational accidents and diseases. Best practice should be shared with countries that have poor accident statistics; our preconception that certain countries may lack the necessary education levels or skillsets should not prevent us from implementing H&S measures.
Many H&S practitioners view H&S induction and training as tick-box exercises. Whilst H&S training is crucial to establish a pathway to competence, the post-training monitoring and mentoring ensure the correct implementation of prevention measures. H&S practitioners have limitations and can’t monitor or supervise all areas of a business. The drive to encourage employee behavioural changes to improve H&S is gaining traction, but more is required. Employees must be taught vigilance about on-site risks. Human instinct and situational awareness are of paramount importance: we should be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.
It would be interesting to identify how many H&S practitioners are employed compared to the number of employees across different industries – similar to how we measure doctor/nurse to population ratios.
In South Africa, at least, there seem to be a tremendous amount of new and amended H&S regulations, which will greatly complicate H&S practitioners’ work. Another interesting exercise would be to investigate the costs to employers associated with compliance bureaucracy. Department of Employment and Labour inspectors presumably have varying abilities and, potentially, would have difficulties understanding complex compliance requirements.
It’s encouraging to engage with Saiosh members at conferences where there’s a keenness and urgency to ensure they meet Compulsory Professional Development (CPD) points requirements. I believe it is vital to be a registered member of a professional body like Saiosh, where membership and upgrades require the attainment of CPD points. This is a testament to the credibility of an enterprise and proves to employers and inspectors that Saiosh professional members meet industry compliance standards. Saiosh is committed to upgrading its members’ professional skills by providing the latest occupational H&S developments: four newsletters are usually circulated per month, including all related OHS Acts, regulations, directives, directions, and codes of practice published for comments. During the past 12 months, meanwhile, Saiosh has verified more than 1 000 courses for CPD and professional registration at TechSaiosh and GradSaiosh level.
On the Saiosh OHS Legal Advice Forum, members can post OHS legal queries on the platform to receive an OHS advocate’s professional opinion – a free service offered to Saiosh members. Saiosh also provides the Working at Height Safety Forum, the OHS Technical Forum, and the Covid-19 Workplace Forum (also free-to-use for members).
I wish to thank Saiosh stakeholders for their continued support and participation in Saiosh activities. We honour and thank Saiosh members for their professionalism and dedication to making the workplace healthier and safer for South Africa’s workers.