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President's Message - June 2014

Thursday, 12 June 2014  
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President's Message - June 2014

Newer members may view this message as a step forward while members, who have been with Saiosh since we started, might be wondering why there was such a long gap since the last message.

The beginning

Perhaps the best way to explain this is to have a history lesson. It’s been an exciting 4 years and just seems to get more exciting as we go along. So, let’s begin.
  • It was just over 4 years ago when the seven Founder members (you can read about us on the website decided to create Saiosh. At that time we had a collective experience in OHS of over 190 years.
  • From past experience we could record, 2 Past Presidents from another organisation, 5 Fellow memberships and multiple awards as Safety Practitioners of the Year.
  • We had a simple objective for our new Institute. Firstly we wanted to do everything we could to promote the Profession. This included, for example, education, motivation, support, lobbying, representation on committees and government. Secondly we wanted to do everything we could to look after the Professional. This also included education, motivation, encouraging skills development, broadening experience, mentoring, to mention just a few.
  • The start was slow, 30 members only in the first month. Then the rocket took off and now we have passed the 2700 mark. We also have over 170 Corporate Members and these are companies who are involved in the Occupational Safety and Health Field and who support the objectives of Saiosh. We are growing at a lovely steady rate!
  • We established a link with IOSH in the UK. The intention was to open an office of IOSH in South Africa.
  • That unfortunately did not come to fruition as we had also applied to SAQA to register ourselves as a Professional Body representing the OHS Professionals.
  • A condition of that recognition was that the Professional Body has to be under South African control.
  • Many of our members benefited from obtaining IOSH Professional designations. However we have continued our mutual relationship in support of OHS and have just completed our 2nd conference in Johannesburg, which included international speakers.
Where are we going?

When SAQA approved the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health – South Africa (IOSH SA) as the Professional body for the
OHS Professionals, the Executive Board of IOSH SA appointed Saiosh to perform the administrative work. IOSH SA has now set in motion a series of breakfast workshops, with top speakers talking on current developments in the field of OHS. This is how they are going to work.
  • Originally the plan was to begin with Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Such is the response that we have already opened the programme to include Bloemfontein and Polokwane.
  • This year the AGM will be arranged to coincide with one of the workshops.
  • In later years the AGM can be in different centres.
  • Also on the proposed list is Port Elizabeth and East London.
  • A special point to note here is that attendance at a Breakfast workshop earns the member valuable CPD points.
  • The workshops are free for paid up members with visitors having to pay a fee.
  • Corporate members will have the opportunity to both sponsor and exhibit at the workshop.
How do we see the future for Occupational Health and Safety Professionals?

The short answer is, BRIGHT.
  • For the first time in South Africa the OHS profession has been given legal recognition (by SAQA).
  • Already the South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions, (SACPCMP) have it legislated that 3 levels of Construction OHS are required for practitioners working in the Construction field.
  • Saiosh is a registered Voluntary Association of SACPCMP and our members that apply for registration will get credits towards their application.
  • The Mining industry has requirements for “competent persons” in OHS.
  • For some time there has been talk by the DOL to incorporate the OHS Practitioner in the OHS Act, it seems that this is now on the cards with the new Draft OHS Bill.
  • Surveys have been done to find a suitable/suggested/ideal ratio, of OHS Practitioners at a workplace, relative to the number of employees.
Where does Saiosh fit into the picture?
  • Anyone who is involved or interested in OHS can be a member of Saiosh.
  • Saiosh already has a permanent office with two permanent employees.
  • The Founder members receive no remuneration for their work.
  • With the phenomenal growth rate of the Institute, Saiosh purchased a special membership software package to process all the administrative work needed by Saiosh as well as by IOSH SA.
  • Members apply online and can network with fellow members.
  • CPD points are easily uploaded via the online membership programme.
  • Newsletters are issued as and when new information is received, roughly 3 times per month and are also posted on our website.
  • Saiosh publishes a quarterly newsletter for our Corporate Members, with free advertising on any new products or services available to our members.
  • The Institute advertises in magazines, journals, newspapers (who run special campaigns) and also exhibit at all the main OHS events.
  • Saiosh has members who sit on the Minister’s Advisory Council (ACOSH) which lobbies for improvements/changes for legislation.
Is that all?

No, your President’s message will be back and it will be on a regular basis.

So until then, remember, Safety is for Sharing!

Safety regards,

Robin W. Jones
Saiosh President

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