Twin double-digit birthdays as Saiosh and A-OSH EXPO both turn 10 in 2020
While this new decade is still in its infancy, the South African Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Saiosh) has just celebrated its landmark tenth anniversary, on 11 February. In a similar vein, Africa’s foremost occupational health and safety (OHS) trade show, A-OSH EXPO, will also be turning 10 when it opens its doors to visitors at Gallagher Convention Centre from 02 to 04 June. Saiosh will be holding its tenth annual conference at Gallagher Convention Centre in parallel with the event, on 02 and 03 June.
Neels Nortjé, CEO and founding member of Saiosh, clarifies: “On 11 February 2010, a group of passionate South African health and safety professionals established Saiosh on the historic day that the country also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela from prison.
“Three years later, Saiosh was recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) as a professional body to register OHS professionals in South Africa in terms of the NQF Act, Act 67 of 2008. Today, Saiosh is the largest OHS professional body in Africa, with some 15,500 members, and is the only SAQA-recognised professional body of OHS practitioners.”
Nortjé is immensely proud of the work that has been done by Saiosh, a registered non-profit organisation committed to the prevention and reduction of work place incidents and accidents, during the past 10 years since inception. He says, “OHS practitioners help to promote health and safety practices in the work place and are trained to recognise hazards related to health and safety. They understand how to assess and control the risks that might arise from these hazards.
The partnership between Saiosh and A-OSH EXPO has been in place since the birth of both the institute as well as the event. Saiosh has supported A-OSH EXPO since the trade show first opened its doors, also in 2011, by holding its inaugural annual conference at the same time and within the same grounds. Since then, Saiosh has continued to hold its event in parallel with A-OSH EXPO every year without fail, at which local and international speakers present the latest trends and updates in the OHS arena.
A-OSH EXPO is annually hosted by Specialist Exhibitions, a part of the Montgomery Group. Event Director Sven Smit comments, “Celebrating our first completed decade during this 2020 event is a notable achievement and we could not be prouder of having placed health and safety wellness at work firmly in the spotlight on an annual basis.
“This trade show plays a very important role in assisting people across multiple industries with health and wellness issues within the work environment. We also congratulate our colleagues at Saiosh for commemorating the same milestone, and we are immensely grateful to them for their continued support, which lends great credibility to our event.”
A-OSH EXPO’s exhibitor profile includes a number of different vertical industries, such as: auditing; disaster management; environmental management; fall arrest and working at height equipment and training; first aid and medical supplies and training; gas detection and monitoring equipment; hazardous materials storage and handling; noise control and monitoring equipment and services; occupational health services, including ergonomics and wellness programmes; and personal protective equipment (PPE) and more.
On credibility, Nortjé clarifies that Saiosh’s SAQA recognition is an important part of the organisation’s DNA, explaining, “SAQA acknowledges a ‘professional body’ as a group of expert practitioners in an occupational field, which includes an occupational body and a statutory council. The aim is to safeguard standards and regulation within a particular profession, for example by controlling the awarding of professional qualification certificates and promoting educational needs.”
SAQA’s objectives include promoting public understanding of, and trust in, regulated and recognised professions, as well as protecting the public from malpractice related to the fulfilment of the duties and responsibilities of professionals registered with them. Additionally, Saiosh acts as a lobby group for OHS legislation and standards, interacting and liaising as might be required with the Department of Employment and Labour and other government bodies on behalf of its members.
Nortjé continues, “Accordingly, OHS practitioners can demonstrate their competence and experience to employers, clients, customers and their peers by registering as a member with Saiosh, which maintains a national register of all registered members. Saiosh is committed to the upgrading of the professional skills of its members by keeping them updated and informed on the latest developments in the field of occupational health and safety. Seminars and workshops on a wide range of health and safety topics are held regularly.”
Saiosh President Sanjay Munnoo comments on some of the particular challenges posed for OHS practitioners in South Africa, as well as the benefits of well-managed health and safety practices, as follows: “The South African economy is experiencing low economic growth, high unemployment, high inequality and low tax revenues, which potentially means that a lack of job opportunities may lead to key health and safety professionals emigrating or seeking alternate careers. However, we remain optimistic that the economy will rebound, and we believe that the introduction of new legislation and regulations should bring about an increased level of enforcement and monitoring, leading to greater demand for health and safety professionals.
“The benefits to companies of well-managed health and safety practices include fewer accidents; reduced costs for facilities, energy, materials and personnel; increased productivity; improved quality of products and services; lower medical costs; improved well-being, job satisfaction and working climate; reduced compensation payments, and maintaining a ‘positive’ image for the organisation.”
“For those members who are unable to attend the annual Saiosh conference in full,” says Nortjé, “we also refer them to the free three-day A-OSH EXPO seminar theatre programme, proudly sponsored by Saiosh, with its own excellent speakers – some of whom will also be presenting at the Saiosh conference.”
“The A-OSH EXPO is known for its first-rate seminar theatre content,” agrees Smit, “and it will once again be sponsored in 2020 by Saiosh, and many of the presentations will also offer the opportunity to build CPD points.
“Being in double digits in 2020,and celebrating our first decade, means that
A-OSH EXPO as well as Saiosh are both thriving. We all spend much of our week at work and so it is good to have health and safety issues highlighted here at the show and at the Saiosh annual conference every year, to the ultimate potential benefit of both employers and employees,” he concludes.
A-OSH EXPO takes place from 02 to 04 June 2020, at Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand, and visitor entrance is free. Securex South Africa 2020, Africa’s leading show within the security and fire sectors, is co-located with A-OSH EXPO 2020, as is the Facilities Management Expo, which brings together all aspects of products and services associated with property and building management and maintenance. This triple-show co-location allows visitors and exhibitors alike to experience a consolidated view of the entire value chain – facilities management, security and occupational health and safety issues – in one place and under one roof.