By NZISM Secretary
Kia ora koutou to all members and supporters of NZISM.
Recently Selena and I, along with a number of other kiwi’s travelled to Sydney to attend the Safety Institute of Australia’s annual conference. It was a great event and there was plenty of opportunity to engage with the institute’s leadership and wider membership. For those who attended the recent NZISM networking event at the Safeguard Conference, you will have witnessed the signing of an MOU between NZISM and SIA, which commits us to exploring areas where we can work together and develop initiatives of mutual benefit.
One of the stand-out presentations in Sydney was given by Dr David Provan, a researcher from Griffiths University, someone who many of you may have heard of or met over the years. Dr Provan has released a number of papers recently all of which are from his research into the Health and Safety Profession. His presentation asked the question as to whether “Occupational Health and Safety Management is a profession”? While he found the short answer to the question was that it was an “emerging profession” with key framework and structures in place, his research highlighted a few areas where there is still some work to do!
Three aspects were identified where the profession should consider its position, within which there were 10 sub-categories, set against a traffic light type assessment which Dr Provan had measured against the definition of a “profession”. Keep in mind this is based on the Australian experience and may not reflect the New Zealand situation.
The first category David considered was at an “Individual level” which includes the role and career pathway, defined knowledge and skill path, ethical codes of practices and professional status. With the exception of the knowledge and skill pathways, which he assessed as green, on the basis of the work done in Australia to produce the OSHBoK, his assessment was that the remainder were at an orange level, with work still to be done.
The second category was based on the “collective criteria” including professional organisations with entry criteria and education. Here, Dave’s research suggests the existence of professional organisations with educational offerings was at a green level, however he suggests that entry criteria is an area where more needs to be done, this on the basis that there is no barrier to entry.
The third category was based on the external environment including legal requirements, other professions and stakeholders and societal recognition of the profession. With there being no legal requirements covering registration for health and safety professionals, this too was a red flag with societal recognition an area for development.
In Dr Provans view there are five areas or challenges to resolve, those being, the previously mentioned barriers to entry (or lack of barriers), the contested space the safety profession finds itself in, (i.e. what decisions is the profession responsible for, a key question posed by Dr Provan, which remains unanswered), the status of safety’s scientific knowledge which he describes as fragmented and immature, societal recognition and institutional restraints.
NZISM is keen to have a discussion with its members across this subject, some of you may have seen Selena’s LinkedIN post which introduced this recently. In the near future we will look to create a environment where we can provide an opportunity for members to provide their views around this topic, this may be through a document we prepare to go out to the membership with some key questions posed to which you may wish to consider and provide some feedback. Following this, we are looking at a forum, maybe a webinar through which the feedback you provide to these questions can be further explored.
Finally, it was again an honour and a privilege to represent NZISM at the New Zealand Health and Safety Awards and to give out this years NZISM Practitioner of the Year award. Congratulations go to Bridgett Smaill from BNZ in winning the 2019 award. NZISM is proud to support this important award and of course it wouldn’t work without the ongoing support of organisations in promoting and supporting their health and safety providers. I would like to congratulate all those who were nominated and those who made the finals, you are all doing great things, keep it up.
Nga mihi nui
If you wish to contact me, please do so by email at firstname.lastname@example.org