People falling from heights, or being struck by objects that fall from height, result in more death and disabling injuries than any other occupational cause in the building / construction industry. This is not only in South Africa but across the world in both developing and developed nations.

Training to ensure safe work practices abound. The training industry is rife with fly-by-night operators that take advantage of the Construction Regulations, General Safety Regulations and Driven Machinery Regulations to create production line “safety training”. These mills are turning out hundreds of ill equipped, unregistered and unqualified persons armed with an official looking “certificate of training” that often displays misleading logos of SETAs, Professional Bodies and Government departments. The use of the term “accredited” is almost a mandatory statement on these bogus certificates.

Unsuspecting and ill-informed Construction Health and Safety Officers on building sites accept these “certificates” at face value when these are included in the pack of compliance documents called the “Health and Safety File” – Without an approved health and safety file a contractor is normally denied access to construction sites. It is in the contractor’s commercial interest to get the paperwork in order. Actual safety is unfortunately a mere by-product of the compliance requirements. This is not what the regulator envisaged but it is quite evident that human nature will try to find the path of least resistance.  The safety officer needs to see a certificate stating that a worker has been trained for working at height therefore the employer will find the least cost, fastest solution. Thus creating the demand for quick-fix solutions seeing ensuring that these so-called training centres flourish.    

The Professional Body regularly receives complaints from the more diligent members of the building construction industry, asking that we take action against these operators.  We have to inform them that we do not have the authority and that they should report these matters to the QCTO / Department of Labour.

Quite recently we have noticed the proposed changes to the NQF Act to address fraudulent and misrepresented qualifications.  SAQA’s policy addressing these proposed changes creates the framework for dealing with individuals and institutions that misrepresent qualifications.

More recently, after many round table discussions and meetings with the Department of Employment and Labour, the QCTO and industry representatives, the QCTO included in their revised OQSF, the registration of ‘SKILLS PROGRAMMES’. This seems to be the solution the industry was waiting for. Although these ‘Skills Programmes’ will not be registered as Part or Full Qualifications, they can lead to a Part or Full Qualification, which opens the career path for each person obtaining these Skills Programmes.

The IWH PB has submitted the following SKILLS PROGRAMMES for registration with the QCTO in June 2020, and is currently awaiting the outcome of these applications:

Download the list, here.