Saiosh Press Release – The Future of First Aid Training (update 8) 18 March 2021
Department of Employment and Labour denies an extension to Notice 682 of 2020
In a letter received on 17 March 2021, the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) – Chief Inspector for Occupational Health and Safety, Mr Tibor Szana, has denied our Section 40 application letter submitted on 21 January 2021 for the extension of Notice 682 of 2020 for a further 12 months and responded to Saiosh with the following:
17 March 2021
URGENT SECTION 40 APPLICATION AGAINST A PORTION OF REGULATION 3(4) OF THE GENERAL SAFETY REGULATIONS
Your letter dated 21 January 2021, has reference.
The Department of Employment and Labour published the first notice in August 2017, whereby first aid training organizations were informed of the requirement to be accredited with Quality Assurance Bodies for first aid. Thus, for the past three years and more, the first aid training organizations have been aware of this process. It must also be noted that the period has been extended twice already since the first publication.
The engagement between your organization and QCTO is commendable and appreciated, but the Department has no control over that process to guarantee that by March 2022, the discussions will be finalized. Therefore, the request to further extend the period to March 2022 cannot be granted as the issue which you pointed out emanates on the side of the Department of Higher Education and its entities.
We are getting successful applications coming from the QCTO currently. Other administrative matter such as the delay in the uploading of students to the SAQA NRLD is outside the mandate of the Department of Employment and Labour.
We do thank you for your interest in the matter.
Signed by Mr T Szana
Saiosh has immediately lodge an appeal to the Chief Inspector in terms of Section 35 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993) on his decision and we are awaiting feedback. In the appeal we addressed the following points:
Conclusion of the Process
Saiosh agrees that this matter must be concluded, but the road thus far has been difficult, slow and with setbacks, not to mention the impact that Covid-19 had in the entire process over the past 12 months, also need to be considered.
DEL Failure To Respond Timeously
Saiosh along with the Institute for Working at Height (IWH) has continuously been trying to engage with the Quality Council of Trade & Occupations (QCTO) as a team, after the QCTO published the Revised Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF) Policy in Government Gazette (No 43062) on the 02 March 2020.
This started gaining momentum in July 2020 and September 2020 with the submissions of Regulatory Skills programmes wrt First Aid and other Regulatory training to the QCTO. However, the QCTO then abruptly stopped the process with a “new” policy in November 2020. As recent as 10 February 2021, we started to make headway again at an online meeting with DEL, QCTO and IWH in attendance. As agreed at this meeting on 15 February 2021, these regulatory training course proposals were then submitted to the DEL for comment and evaluation. Currently, DEL is delaying the matter, as some 30 days have already passed with no progress or further response barring one email dated 23 February 2021 stating “Please take note that we have received the documents forwarded and we are going to have a discussion with our colleagues internally. Due to other commitments as well as non availability [sic] of other colleagues we will need some time to deliberate on the documents. We will keep you informed about progress and QCTO has been informed.”.
Saiosh and IWH cannot move forward, if we do not get active prompt participation from the DEL, who themselves are delaying the process to conclude the proposals, that must still be submitted and considered by QCTO.
Further, we have highlighted the consequences regarding employers being able to meet the requirements of Section 3.4 of the General Safety Regulations “Where more than 10 employees are employed at a workplace, ……….., at least one person is readily available during normal working hours, who is in possession of a valid certificate of competency in first aid.”. A person will only be in possession valid competency certificate in terms of the new regulation, after the course that the person attended, has been verified by the either the QCTO or one of its approved QAPs (i.e. SETA) and the results have been uploaded to the SAQA NRLD. As it currently stands, the number of uploads being done to the SAQA NRLD in terms of Notice 1028 dated 05 October 2018 and Notice 682 of 2020 is as follows:
Unit Standard 2018 2019 2020
119567 (Old First Aid Level 1) 1450 1394 727
120496 (Old First Aid Level 2) 530 263 61
376480 (Old First Aid Level 3) 4 36 22
TOTALS 1984 1693 810
Source: SAQA National Learners’ Records Database dd 20/01/2021
The above has shown that there were very little NLRD uploads over the last 3 years compared to training known to be conducted under the regulation in its current form. This will directly affect the DEL’s ability to enforce Section 3.4 of the General Safety Regulations, to no fault of the employer as they await a valid competency certificate to be issued. Saiosh and IWH is addressing this with QCTO on how to manage and speed up the process and is further reason to grant the extension, especially if the disparity is not investigated and resolved.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR FIRST AID TRAINING PROVIDERS AND EMPLOYERS?
End of First Aid Level 1, 2 And 3 Training
As First Aid Level 1, 2 and 3 standards were issued and approved by the DEL, these courses will cease to exist after 31 March 2021 in terms of the DEL’s Notice 682 of 2020. In terms of workplace requirements, as directed by GSR 3.4, any certificates issued for First Aid Level 1, 2 and 3 courses from 1 April 2021 will have no legal standing, as DEL recognised training will be dealt with by the QCTO or their QAPs.
“Old” DEL Approved Training Providers
“Old” providers that have not successfully been accredited with the QCTO or SETA by 31 March 2021, will need to stop training as they no longer have approval with the DEL. Close up shop or drastic reduction in income.
“QCTO/ SETA Accredited & DEL approved” Training Providers
Current accredited and approved providers can continue, providing only Skills Programmes/ Unit Standard training only, which include:
• US 119567 – Perform basic life support and first aid procedures.
• US 120496 – Provide risk-based primary emergency care/first aid in the workplace.
• US 376480 – Provide first aid as an advanced first responder.
Considering the above approach, there are many challenges such as the excessive expense to providers and employers, the exceptionally long delays in achieving accreditation, the lack of consultation and academic examination of the existing three SAQA Unit Standard’s Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria, the Critical Cross-Field Outcomes.
In addition there is the hurdle of the pre-training learner acceptance criteria i.e. Learning assumed to be in place and Recognition of Prior Learning, the convoluted processes of Facilitation, Formative and Summative assessments, the pitfalls of the Learner Portfolio of Evidence submission, the external Assessment, Moderation, SETA Verification, the issuing of the Statement of Results, and total hours required by the learner to achieve the required outcomes prior to a certificate of Competency being issued.
Finally, there is no expiry date on SAQA Unit standards as its learning completed. How is the matter of “Refresher” training going to be dealt with?
Hopefully the QCTO and/or DEL will address these questions as time moves on.
APPLICATION AS A QUALITY ASSURANCE PARTNER (QAP).
Saiosh along with IWH will continue trying to apply to the QCTO to recognise our proposed OHS regulatory Skills Programmes / Courses along with being a QAP for these programmes. Thank you for the support received in this regard.
It is going to be very tough on the First Aid Training Industry and employers to meet the GSR 3.4 with Unit Standards, however Saiosh will keep you updated to the further developments.
Chairperson: Saiosh Health and Safety Training Advisory Committee (SHASTAC)
“Saiosh – Keeping You Informed”