The leading professional body for Occupational Safety and Health, Saiosh, states in its Code of Conduct that their members shall not recklessly or maliciously injure, or attempt to injure, whether directly or
indirectly, the professional reputation, prospects or business of another.
But this apparently does not apply to their CEO, Neels Nortjé, who in a media announcement issued to their members, referred to other professional associations for safety, not meeting their own defined criteria, as “bogus safety bodies.”
And the gloves came off off two days after this horrendous statement, as voluntary associations operating within the “safety” field starts slapping back at Nortje.
Charmaine van Rensburg of the Professional OHS Trainers and Facilitators Association commented on the Healthandsafetycentral.com magazine that Nortje should get off his high horse.
Peter Shields of Namibia’s chapter of the Africa Institute of Safety and Environmental Engineering commented that Saiosh is a mickey mouse business in comparison to international standards.
This brand bashing as a nasty form of professional jealousy goes back more than a decade. One of the founding fathers of the first professional association, the Chartered Institute of Industrial Safety Engineers, or CHIISE, was Ray Strydom. CHIISE was as far as we understand the first “Safety body” and was functioning well. Later on it changed its name to the Institute of Safety Management or ISM, but due to a trademark conflict with former IBM (ISM), they changed to IoSM.
The Safety body garnered great support, even from the former department of Labour, but things started to turn sour with the introduction of the National Qualifications Framework Act. IoSM split into two groups and the splinter group, with less stringent entry requirements garnered massive support from the lower echelons in the OHS fraternity. Qualification standards took a massive drop and was watered down from a 3 year national diploma to a 2 week course as an acceptable entry level qualification.
Besides the professional bodies being split, the fraternity itself defragmented and competition increased dramatically, with OHS Consulting rates dropping a massive 1200% in 20 years. The once sought after profession soon turned into a over-supplied pool of people with a proliferation of “acceptable” qualifications.
In 2o14, the government was forced to intervene and introduced the first regulatory council for safety in the construction industry. But the line between regulatory and voluntary associations were blurred and practitioners were not properly educated in the difference. Those who were a bit wiser, did not like the direction the OHS profession were going, and started their own “specialist groups”.
And as these specialist groups grow in numbers, the membership income pool that were once shared by two, soon had to be divided by four, five and later on even more.
As there was very little difference among these “Safety bodies”, the only way to garner support was to pitch yourself as the “only” body. But not everyone fell for that scam.
To convince your members that other bodies are bogus, surely will fool some of them to renew their memberships for 2020 and the new recruits will never be told the truth.
What a profession. What a circus.