H&S rigour during the new normal
H&S rigour during the new normal
Disruption coupled with innovation is the norm post-pandemic. The global economy is in complete disarray as wars, recessions, inflation, fuel prices, and food shortages escalate. South Africa also faces other unique challenges, like load shedding and the deepening unemployment crisis.
Temporary or inexperienced workers may take on riskier or downright dangerous work in a desperate search for income. This could lead to serious accidents, which health and safety (H&S) can offset. Government and private sector social media campaigns can, for example, influence people to work safer. A practical example includes the government’s Covid-19 WhatsApp campaign. Perhaps something similar could be implemented to provide H&S guidance for employees starting high-risk jobs? Social media also helped to provide connections for those forced to work remotely, and this continues for many.
Remote work opens new avenues for both employers and employees, but is a double-edged sword. There may be negative impacts on people’s private lives, with a higher risk of mental health and general well-being challenges. Many studies have shown that mental health issues can also lead to greater risk-taking and poor H&S.
On the positive side of the blade, employees can spend more quality time with their families and companies can source skilled workers from across the globe. Top universities are also offering online courses to upskill the workforce worldwide. Online courses will hopefully also reduce fees, making them affordable in developing countries.
Whether negative or positive, change may well contribute to some level of anxiety. There will be a need to encourage and reassure staff of H&S protocols and to care for their mental well-being. Clearly, we must embrace constant change and be prepared to navigate its unpredictable waters to uphold H&S rigour during the new normal.
Saiosh has successfully implemented and aligned its processes for the professional registration and certification of occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals to international standards. The new standard, ISO/IEC 17024:2012 Conformity Assessment – General Requirements for Bodies Operating Certification of Persons, contains principles and requirements for a body certifying persons against specific conditions. These include the development and maintenance of a certification scheme.
Courses that meet the academic criteria for Saiosh Technical Member (TechSaiosh), Saiosh’s first level of professional registration, qualify for course verification. The qualification level for TechSaiosh is pitched at NQF Level 5 with 10 credits. Shorter OHS courses that do not meet the academic requirements for TechSaiosh membership (for example, those running for one to five days) can be verified by Saiosh for continuing professional development (CPD). These courses can also be awarded with CPD points. Events such as OHS workshops, seminars, conferences, and webinars can be CPD verified as well. It must be noted that Saiosh Course Verification has no bearing on SAQA, QCTO, or CETA accreditation. For more information on Saiosh Course Verification, visit www.saiosh.co.za.