OSHAfrica has three Scientific Committees where all her functions are carried out and every registered member of OSHAfrica is eligible for membership of a maximum of 2 of these committees. Every Scientific Committee has a head that is appointed by the Board of Trustees and reports to the same Board. The role of the Committee Head is to provide the needed leadership for that committee to achieve its mandate. The 3 Scientific Committees are as follow:
OSH Legislation and Policy Improvement Committee
This scientific committee is responsible for reviewing existing Occupational Safety and Health legislations and policies at both National and Enterprise levels. It is no longer news that most of the OSH legislations being used across many countries in Africa are fairly obsolete and not in current tune with the new realities in workplaces and this poses a huge concern to workplace safety and health. Again, there is no regional OSH legislation that can guide all AU member countries in the area of OSH and this also poses a huge concern in achieving coordinated OSH practice within the region.
This committee is currently working on a project reviewing all existing National OSH policies of the 54 countries in Africa, looking at the inadequacies, similarities, shortfalls and exclusions and using these reviews to develop a one African OSH Policy which will be known as the “African Union Protocol on Occupational Safety and Health”. The African Union Develop Agency (AU DA) has come into partnership with us on this project which we hope to deliver together. Our estimation is that the complete document from this project will be launched in March, 2021 when the African Union meeting will be conveyed.
This document is expected to give guidance to Countries and Enterprises across Africa on issues that surround Workplace Safety and Health. It is our hope that member Countries are able to domesticate the contents of this document into their existing local OSH legislations.
Committee Head: This committee is headed by Titiola Hameed (PhD) from Nigeria. Titilola is a Lawyer who wrote Master’s Degree thesis in Occupational Health and Safety Management and a Doctoral program in Occupational Health and Safety Management. She has a wealth of experience to lead this committee.
OSH Education and Competency Improvement Committee
This Scientific Committee is responsible for developing new academic guidelines and framework for bridging the competency gap that exists in Occupational Health and Safety in Africa. The passion for Occupational Safety and Health abounds in Africa and the need to harness these passion and support it with the right knowledge will score a good point, this is our thought. Understandably, there are no sufficient OSH Training Institutes in Africa and most people who are trained and certified in OSH had their education or certifications for the West but when you measure this with the poverty index here, it is almost impossible for an average family for fund this, hence the few number of trained OSH practitioners we have in Africa. This coupled with the fact that African workplaces may be at same developmental stage of the region, most of the modules used in Western Institutions do not rightly speak to the risks in African workplaces and the need to develop contextual modules for training our people has become of utmost importance.
There are also a number of non-trained safety practitioners in the field with so much passion and using the skills they learnt on the job, there is also the need to look at this population of people, bring them back to the class for an entry level training and certification which they can build upon in their further development in Occupational Health and Safety knowledge.
This committee has the overall mandate to develop and improve OSH competencies amongst Africans.
Committee Head: This committee is headed by Dr Moyo Dingani from Zimbabwe. Dingani is an Occupational Medicine Physician from University of Newcastle Australia, an OSH Consultant and an Academic Researcher. He is a Fellow of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FFOM), Royal College of Physicians, Ireland. He is also a Lecturer at the Midlands State University and National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe.
OSH Data, Research and Publication
This is the research arm of OSHAfrica with a mandate to coordinate the wealth of resources we have within in publishing African OSH data.
Africa has been classified as a region with insufficient data, the truth is enormous work are done daily but never reported or published, this has led to duplication of efforts and waste of resources in doing studies or perhaps work that has already been done in some other countries in Africa.
Some of the perceived reasons why most of the work are not published is the quality of the research work or the methodologies used. This committee is to help train and develop more Africans skilled in the area of research so we are able to carry out quality research work that we can publish in international journals.
Committee Head: This committee is headed by Prof. Janvier Gasana from Rwanda. He holds a Masters of Public Health from University of Illinois, Chicago and a PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health and Epidemiology also from University of Illinois, Chicago – USA. Janvier is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health in Kuwait University. A Professor at both Florida International University, USA and Rwandan Medical School, Rwanda.