Covid-19 infection rates have increased rapidly over recent weeks and we have to brace for worse to come. The impact really hits home when we talk to colleagues who have tragically lost someone because of the virus
Organisations are fortunate to have stringent risk assessments and measures to combat the spread of Covid-19. Employees continue to face the risk of being infected in their communities or at work. One has to consider the extremely high risk prevalent for families within informal settlements in South Africa.
I’m certain that there are health and safety (H&S) professionals who go beyond the call of duty by playing a greater role to implement preventative measures in their communities.
During the Level-5 lockdown, I recall indicating to our CEO, Neels Nortjé, that the target for the number of new Saiosh members may be on a downward trend. It comes as great news that during the past three months Saiosh registered 572 new members. Total members registered (since inception) as at March 31, 2020, is 15 847. This is a clear indication of the growing interest in the profession.
The Saiosh series of webinars have been aimed at empowering the H&S industry with current information relating to Covid-19. There have been nine free webinars and the total number of attendees has hit an impressive 10 811.
The webinar with the highest number of views of 2 346 was when the Chief Inspector, Tibor Szana, unpacked the Consolidated Direction on Occupational Health and Safety Measures in Certain Workplaces, Government Gazette 43400, that was issued by the Minister of Employment and Labour on June 4.
The webinar has been recorded and is available here.
I found the recorded webinars to be easily navigated without any buffering or lag.
There seems to be uncertainty regarding compliance with Covid-19 directions at the workplace. Saiosh members are encouraged to post pertinent questions onto the Saiosh Forum for discussion and expert responses.
It was a historic day for Saiosh and IOSH as the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed via a live webinar on June 11 by Nortjé and Bev Messinger, CEO of IOSH. This ushers in an exciting time for both organisations.
Saiosh and IOSH embarked on a renewed collaboration to further support each organisation's aims to advance the knowledge and professional practice of occupational safety and health.
The presidents of the respective organisations, myself, and Professor Dr Andrew Sharman, gave high-level overviews, while Nortjé and Messinger explained the various membership benefits that are offered, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Saiosh and IOSH agreed to work together to:
1. Advance the knowledge and professional practice of occupational safety and health management between the two parties.
2. Support each other through dialogue and activities designed to create a synergistic strategy for both parties to increase their memberships.
3. Support the successful delivery of the Saiosh annual conference.
4. Successfully embed and promote IOSH training and education products within South Africa’s continuing professional development systems.
Saiosh continues to develop and improve relations with several professional bodies.
We are confident that Saiosh members are satisfied with the Covid-19 H&S-related information that is being disseminated. We invite any suggestions on what we can improve on.
Saiosh appeals to members to constantly monitor the latest technological H&S trends, retrain themselves and adapt to change.
The Saiosh Council expresses its gratitude to H&S professionals for implementing measures to safeguard the livelihoods of South African employees during this pandemic.