What are occupational health and safety courses all about
There are many different occupational health and safety course options ranging from 1 day to 10 day courses. The health and safety act is controlled by the Department of Employment and Labour, as well as Municipal by-laws and other legislation require companies and employers to train their employees in topics such as First Aid, Firefighting, Evacuation Planning, Health and Safety Representative and other OHS related courses.
The courses are aimed at imparting theoretical knowledge and practical skills to an organization’s OHS Teams. The OHS Teams are made up of first aiders, fire wardens, evacuation marshals, health and safety representatives and supervisors. This important team is predominantly responsible for OHS implementation and preparing the company to manage unexpected emergencies, as best as possible. In addition the OHS team is responsible for identifying safety issues such as hazardous which pose a risk to employees and then ensuring that these hazards are appropriately addressed by the health and safety officer or management. By doing this the workplace become a safer place to work in. The health and safety officer will also identify staff that would perform well in attending various health and safety act related courses such as:
- First aid level 1, 2 & 3
- Firefighting and
- advanced firefighting
- Evacuation planning
- OHS Rep and supervisor
- Incident investigation
- Risk Assessment
- OHS act
- OHS Specialist
- Snake id, handling and treatment
- Working at heights
Once the occupational health and safety courses are completed the OHS teams must then meet, discuss and practice emergencies and prepare by conducting evacuation drills and monitoring how well the company and OHS teams performed during these bi-annual evacuation drills.
Importance of occupational health and safety courses
The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires companies and or employers to adhere to the health and safety acts requirements and assist in ensuring the health and safety and wellbeing of all employers within the workplace. There are many different organizations, performing different tasks, different employment requirements, but the OHS act with its sections and regulations cover and are applicable to all organizations and industries. The act is there to try an broadly address all safety issues within the workplace.
Health and safety courses are there to educate and inform employers and their employees on the OHS Act and all its requirements. The OHS Act often seems confusing and unclear on its requirements, but by attending health and safety courses, employers and their employees are able to understand and implement the OHS Acts requirements and create a healthy safe and prepared environment for all.
Companies that do not perform OHS related training, or do not have a practising health and safety officer, place their employees at risk as their working environment might not be safe, not hazard and risk free and also the employees are not trained to respond correctly to emergencies.
OHS course accreditation requirements
There are many Health and Safety Act training providers, but unfortunately many of them are not correctly or even accredited with South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), a Sectional Education Training Authority (SETA) the Health and Welfare SETA (HWSETA) and Department of Employment and Labour (DOEL).
It is a DOEL requirement that all first aid training providers must be accredited with a SETA and if not then the training provider and its first aid certification is not valid. The DOL is ensuring that first aid training, which is such an important requirement, is trained by SETA accredited companies and thus delivering quality training. First aid is a critical life saving skill and it is very important that OHS course providers are fully accredited and subject matter experts in the field. All of our facilitators at Absolute Health Services are registered paramedics registered with the Health Professions Council of SA, thereby ensuring that delegates receive quality training. All the individual OHS courses must be accredited and aligned to specific unit standards and when combined are called Skills programs.
All accredited OHS courses need to be aligned to the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and it is therefore very important that your OHS training provider has overall and individual SETA accreditation for all their different courses, which will assist and empower the organization, the health and safety officer and the staff in addressing the different safety issues that they are faced.
What are the minimum OHS compliance courses requirements – what do we need to attend
There are no actual minimum requirements, as the OHS act needs to be applied to everyone and as many people can attend as possible. Courses such as first aid and firefighting are beneficial to everyone in the workplace and home environment and therefore the organization’s health and safety officer and human resources department should motivate for as many staff to attend as possible.
The delegates should be older than 16, be able to understand, speak and write english, but there are no other entry requirements. It would be ideal if all staff are trained in the health and safety act requirements and objectives.
How do I become an occupational health and safety officer or specialist?
There is a 10-day Health and Safety Officer or Specialist course which is an accredited HWSETA skills program. Delegates can apply at Absolute Health Services and there is no real entry requirement, just that delegates can read, write and speak english and be 18 years of age.
The course covers first aid, firefighting, evacuation planning, OHS act, incident investigation, risk assessment, safety issues and health and safety in general. Once successfully completing the theoretical 10 day course, delegates are required to complete a workplace assignment, where they investigate, discuss and implement certain OHS related content and workbook requirements. Once completed the workplace assignment documentation are handed back to AHS. AHS then assess and moderate all the portfolios of evidence and then contact the HWSETA to conduct a verification visit and if successfully verified the delegates receive a statement of results and their information is loaded onto the national learner registration database. Their competency results are available on this database for ever and for any person to view and confirm that that person has been declared competent for the Health and Safety Officer and Specialist skills program.
The real health and safety journey then begins, where a competent health and safety officer then finds employment and aims at making a positive impact within the organization, by creating a healthy safe and prepared working environment for all. This is achieved by addressing and complying with the health and safety act and various appropriately solving safety issues.
Competitive pricing of courses
Absolute Health Services offers competitive pricing and costing for all their OHS act related courses. It is important to not be overcharged by training providers and also ensure that they provide accredited training. When comparing training providers , ensure that the training providers you are comparing all SETA and DOL accredited providers, thus comparing apples with apples. Good competitively priced courses are listed below:
|FA1||First Aid Level 1||2 Days||R795.00|
|FA2||First Aid Level 2||3 Days||R850.00|
|FA3||First Aid Level 3||3 Days||R850.00|
|FA1&2||First Aid Level 1 & 2||4 Days||R1,150.00|
|FA2&3||First Aid Level 2 & 3||4 Days||R1,150.00|
|FA1,2&3||First Aid Level 1, 2 & 3||5 Days||R1,350.00|
|FF2||Advanced Firefighting||2 Days||R1,500.00|
|1475||SAQCC Fire Technician 1475||5 Days||R3,950.00|
|H&S1||H&S Representative||1 Day||R695.00|
|H&S2||H&S Incident Investigation||1 Day||R795.00|
|H&S3||H&S Risk Assessment||1 Day||R795.00|
|H&S4||H&S OHS Act||1 Day||R795.00|
|H&S5||H&S 16.2 Workshop||± 2 Hours||R450.00|
|H&S6||H&S Supervisor||2 Days||R1,375.00|
|H&S7||H&S Specialist||10 Days||R8,995.00|
|EP||Evacuation Planning||1 Day||R695.00|
|HIV||HIV Aids Awareness||1 Day||R695.00|
|SIT||Snake Identification & Treatment (no handling)||± 6 Hours||R950.00|
|SIH||Snake Identification, Handling & Treatment||1 Day||R1,250.00|
|SIHA||Snake Identification, Advanced Handling (Black Mamba) & Treatment||2 Days||R1,950.00|
|BAARC||BAA Refresher Correspondence (CPD)||1 Day||R1,250.00|
|AEARC||AEA Refresher Correspondence (CPD)||1 Day||R1,650.00|
|SS||Stacking & Storage||1 Day||R695.00|
|ECW||Evacuation Chair Workshop||± 2 Hours||R450.00|
|CPRA||CPR for Everyone (RCSA)||± 3 Hours||R450.00|
|CPRP||CPR for Professionals (RCSA)||± 4 Hours||R725.00|
|BLSA||BLS for Healthcare Providers (AHA)||± 5 Hours||R850.00|
What qualifications do you need to be a health and safety officer?
A health and safety officer needs to have some sort of recognized and accredited health and safety act course or certificate behind their name. This course must be NQF aligned and SAQA accredited, such as an HWSETA accredited skills program or national certificate.
This should ensure that the content of the courses addresses the correct safety issues and that the OHS Act is understood and can be implemented effectively.
There is also a tertiary degree that can be completed through correspondence at UNISA – National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety. I would suggest that potential individuals attend the health and safety officer course at Absolute Health Services, which is fully accredited and thereafter consider attending the national diploma, if the 1st course was interesting and appealed to the delegate.