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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Alert24 - Safeguard Update

Voluntary professionalism?

Voluntary professionalism?
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New Zealand

The New Zealand Safety Council believes the government is set to reject the idea of mandatory registration for health and safety practitioners.

The need to establish robust professional standards for the OHS industry has long been one of the council's key drivers, and a compulsory registration scheme was its preferred option for achieving this. However chief executive Andy Loader says recent discussions with the government indicate that it favours a system of voluntary registration, based on the British model.

In recent months Loader has been meeting with MBIE staff and representatives from 16 other OHS professional organisations, to discuss the formation of a health and safety professionals' alliance, or HaSPA.

"The Safety Council started on this project with the expectation that we would end up with either a professional registration system for health and safety practitioners, or at the very least a minimum set of competencies that you had to have to be able to call yourself a health and safety professional," he says. "But now I don't believe the government wants to put anything mandatory in place in terms of minimum standards or registration."

Loader fears that a voluntary scheme will see good practitioners invest the time and money to get themselves professionally accredited, while "the ratbags" will simply continue in practice, without being held accountable.

"We have a mandatory level of training for safety reps, but once you get past there that's it, it seems - you can go for your life. And I can't think of a single case where a consultant has been prosecuted for giving bad advice."

Loader says his personal view is that the issue should be the subject of some election year lobbying, and he will be discussing this with the Safety Council board this week.

Despite these concerns, he is confident that both the council and the NZ Institute of Safety Management will be significant players in the yet-to-be-formed HaSPA. He says the government's plan seems to be to develop an all-industry representative group, similar to OHSIG, the Occupational Health and Safety Industry Group, which was set up by practitioners in 2005.

"I think the government wants a group to give the industry a united voice, and we will have a large part to play - us and NZISM - because we're the organisations that cover the whole country."

The next meeting of the HaSPA consultation group is scheduled for early April.


People Mentioned:
Andy Loader
Organisations Mentioned:
NZ Safety Council; MBIE; NZISM
Reference No:

From Alert24 - Safeguard Update

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