Safety Standards in New Zealand; The NZSC or NZISM?
In New Zealand there are two main professional groups for safety managers and advisors to be a part of. There are many more for smaller professional bodies, which can be found under the OHSIG umbrella e.g. Occupational Health Nurses. But for general safety work, the New Zealand Safety Council (NZSC) and the New Zealand Institute of Safety Management (NZISM) both aim to set the standard for safety professionals. And yes, they are effectively set up in competition with each other.
Why 2 safety bodies?
A few years ago I started searching online to find a body to be registered to, and was surprised to discover these 2 groups. I decided to write to the heads of both and ask why. Why should I join your group, and why are you guys not working together? What I found was that the NZSC was set up out of frustration of where the NZISM was going, or not going. As a fledging to this industry I had no history or baggage about either group, so my only concern was to join the body that I believed had the most rigorous standards. My thinking was that if they ever amalgamated, I wouldn’t have to redo the work. Interestingly, Australia are going through the same growing pains with the establishment of a newly formed SIWA Ltd, set up in competition and founded by some ex-leaders of SIA (Safety Institute of Australia).
Which safety body is right for you
Recently though the NZISM have aligned themselves with IOSH. I like the international framework membership IOSH provides, and in addition the Department of Labour have committed all their staff to the NZISM/IOSH framework. Which can only help swing momentum back to the NZISM. This development is a threat to the NZSC, which is a shame. I believe the competition has stimulated both groups into finding innovative solutions to be the benchmark for the setting of a safety standard(s) in New Zealand. Personally, I am registered as a professional to both the NZSC and recently the NZISM in order to leverage off the good work from both groups. If you are looking at joining one of these safety bodies, why not give both a whirl?