Search

Changes to Professional Development and Accreditation Effective 01 June 2009

Date: 
Sunday, 26 April, 2009 - 10:00
Category: 
Industry news

WE'RE CHANGING OUR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND ACCREDITATION EFFECTIVE 1 JUNE 2009.

The rationale for change

As the peak body for OHS professionals, the Safety Institute of Australia Ltd (SIA) is committed to ensuring our members are suitably qualified - and are able to demonstrate their academic qualifications, industry experience and ongoing professional development in line with six forward looking major policy changes. These policy changes were approved by the SIA National Board of Management (NBOM) on 12 February 2009 for national application and will become effective on 1 June 2009.  

These policy changes are all linked and are designed to establish a career path in safety, provide industry with the confidence they expect from those who are providing advice as Health & Safety Professionals, to provide industry access to Certified OHS Professionals and ensure our standards are high and that we have a robust complaints system to ensure credibility.   

1.   A new Code of Ethics which replaces our Code of Conduct and is based on the SIA Code of Ethics and Minimum Service Standards that had been developed by the Health and Safety Professional Alliance (HaSPA) in Victoria, and last year was supported by the NBOM; 

2.   A Complaints Procedure, based on recommendations developed by HaSPA and adopted by the NBOM will complement the new Code of Ethics.

3.   A new "Graduate" level of membership for members who have completed OHS academic qualifications and are gaining experience to apply for professional certification. Graduate members can benefit from our mentoring program. This policy change has been approved by the NBOM however it will still require an amendment to the SIA Constitution to be approved at the 2009 National Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Sydney in October prior to implementation.

As part of that commitment and to ensure employers and industry get the expert advice they need, the SIA will be rolling out two further major policy changes effective from 1 June 2009 which will provide clear career paths and a recognised standard for both the SIA and OHS professionals at a national level. 

4.   Professionals Certification (previously referred to as Grading). A new minimum education requirement has been established for new members, particularly those seeking professional grading and accreditation through the SIA.

5.   Continuous Professional Development (CPD). Revisions to the Continuing Professional Development program including mandatory attainment of points and submission of log books each three years for SIA members to retain their accreditation.

6.   Find an OHS Professional. To assist employers to find an OHS Professional to provide them with advice as a contractor or employee the SIA is establishing a register for SIA members who are CPM, Fellow or Chartered Fellow, are financial and are up-to-date with the requirements of the SIA CPD requirements. (Details on the planned launch of this new member-focused website initiative were distributed to all members on 13 May 2009).

What are the changes to Professional Certification? (Previously referred to as Grading)

As part of the SIA's new grading criterion, new members and in particular those seeking to be Professionally Certified Members will need to have a University/SIA approved OHS Degree, Graduate Diploma or Masters Qualification in addition to demonstrating their competency and experience in the field.  

What if I don't have formal qualifications? 

The SIA encourages all members to seek academic qualifications in the field of OHS. However for those members who do not have formal qualifications but have significant experience in the OHS profession or allied fields, a Challenge Assessment is available which recognizes the long standing experience of many of our members who are well skilled practitioners in the industry.

Administered through the Institute's College of Fellows, full details and application forms for the Challenge Assessment can be found on the SIA website to help members who want to be professionally certified take the next step.

Will I be affected if I am already professionally credited by the SIA, but don't have formal qualifications?

The new minimum education requirement will not affect existing Chartered Professional Members (CPMSIA's), Fellows (FSIA's) or Chartered Fellows (CFSIA's) who will be automatically accredited as part of the NBOM-approved grandfathering scheme. Nor will it preclude anyone passionate about health and safety or interested in OHS from becoming a member of the SIA.

However, to remain accredited all professional members, i.e. CPMSIA, FSIA and CFSIA, will need to keep their continuing professional development points and log books up to date and be fully paid up members of the SIA.  This is particularly important for professional members who want to be listed on the SIA's new Find an OHS Professional register which, as previously advised will be phased in from 1 June 2009 also. This new website capability, which will be accessible by businesses etc seeking to find an OHS Professional, will require members to not only be professionally accredited but also to be financial and have the required points needed as part of the SIA's Continuing Professional Development Program. 

Can I be included on the SIA website "Find an OHS Professional" if I am not professionally qualified?

No.  Only current professionally certified members (CPMSIA, FSIA and CFSIA) and new members (from 1 June 2009) who apply for professional accreditation and meet the new minimum education standards and experience grading criterion, or who have passed the SIA Challenge Assessment, will be eligible for inclusion.  However, current SIA Chartered Fellows (CFSIA's) and Fellows (FSIA's), who decide to opt-in, will be automatically featured on the register from 1 June as part of "phase one". All going well with phase one, we anticipate that "phase two" involving an invitation to all CPMSIA's to be registered, will be completed by 30 June.  

Where can I find additional information on SIA approved and recognised courses?

A number of SIA and university approved courses are available to members wishing to undertake formal qualifications including an OHS Course Finder which lists relevant undergraduate and post graduate courses in your state or territory.  For more information, go to:  www.sia.org.au/sigs/education/ohs-courses.   

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Why is professional development important and mandatory for SIA members?

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is vital in maintaining professional competence and provides members not only with a structured career path but also safeguards their professional status by demonstrating they are suitably qualified to both their peers and business.

To ensure all members maintain their accreditation and reflect the new minimum standards and core competencies required by the SIA as a peak body, a number of changes have been made to the SIA's CPD Program.

The changes will take effect from 1 June 2009 and provide further opportunities for members to reach their professional development targets each year, take advantage of CPD activities, encourage compliance and ensure all SIA members are suitably qualified and maintain appropriate levels of accreditation.Most importantly, the changes are there to make it easier for you to participate and comply with the new minimum standards agreed to by the SIA and approved, in February 2009, by the SIA NBOM for national application.

Participating in the CPD and keeping your log book up to date will be mandatory for all existing and new professionally accredited members (CPMSIA, FSIA and CFSIA) from 1 June, particularly those seeking to be accredited as a full professional member and to have their name/company included on the Find an OHS Professional register on the SIA website. 

The SIA's CPD program will require professional members to attain a requisite number of points over a three year period to ensure they maintain their professional grading.  

What's changed?
 

Two new categories, Share and Extend, have been introduced as have a range of new activities and revised category names which we consider will encourage a life long learning approach to professional development and see increased participation from our members:

  • Learn  (Education, Publication, Review, Research and Conferences/Seminars);
  • Apply (OHS work, work based:- reports, policy/training development & original work);
  • Share (Present at Conference/Seminar, Solution Share or Mentoring);
  • Serve  (SIA Committee or Community Work); and
  • Extend (Non OHS Professional Development; - our CPD Log Book, management training, public speaking, well being, training cert.).

How many points do I need to maintain my professional accreditation?

The points required to maintain membership levels have also changed to a single target of 100 points per annum across all membership grades. Log books will be audited and assessed on a three year CPD cycle of 300 points rather than five years.  The NBOM will review targets in three years time. We've also taken away the confusion around points by simplifying the system so one point equals one hour of OHS activity. 

Full details on the point value of each activity can be found at http://www.sia.org.au/membership/cpd. The new log book is available in the Members Area of the website at http://www.sia.org.au/members/cpdlogbook (Please note you must log in to view this area).

Are there any restrictions on how I credit my points?

How you credit your points through the different categories is open to each member, but it is intended that members will take full advantage of the new scope of activities and learning opportunities to broaden their skills and expertise. 

Changes to the CPD log book 

 

A number of changes are being made to the log book in the near future - specifically the shift to a web based format which will make it easier for members to update and submit as part of their accreditation process and easier for the CPD Review Panel* to audit and monitor. 

The new format will allow members to update and submit their log books on line and will allow CPD activities booked and paid for online will to be automatically entered into member's log books. 

  • Log books will now only require a summary and declaration to be submitted every three years rather than every five years; and
  • Audits will be undertaken regularly to ensure members are keeping their CPD and log books up to date. 

*Given compliance has been an issue over the years, a CPD Review Panel has been established to monitor the audit process and assist members keep up to date with their CPD requirements.

What do I need to do to switch over to the new system?

Switching over to the new system is easy. Those completing a current 5 year cycle will simply submit their log books under the old rule - otherwise all you need to do is copy over your current log book activities and points into the new system.   For members who want to be on the Find an OHS Professional register as long as you can find 300 points from your past CPD activities then subject you having the evidence then submit your declaration (Note: 3 years is the minimum period for a log book). The new CPD log book is available in the Members Area of the website at http://www.sia.org.au/members/cpdlogbook (Please note you must log in to view this area).

  • To find out more about the SIA Code Ethics and Minimum Service Standards and how this will now inform and underpin Professional certification go to www.sia.org.au/about/ethics.
  • 'Find an OHS Professional' register will be activated from June 1st on the SIA home page. We will send this link in an email on the day.

If you have any further questions, please contact the National Office on +61 3 8336 1995 or natadmin@sia.org.au.

Regards,

Barry Silburn CFSIA
SIA National President
Safety Institute of Australia Ltd