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8 August 2014

Ergonomics Society of South Africa (ESSA)




ESSA Update: August 2014 Newsletter


Dear ESSA Members,


We, the ESSA committee, must firstly apologise for the poor communication over the last year, but I can assure you that we have been very busy in the background working on a variety of important initiatives. I would like to use this opportunity to inform you about three of these initiatives and the implications they are likely to have for our society. Furthermore I would also like to briefly highlight some important upcoming events.  



The Professional Affairs Board (PAB) which consists of Professor Matthias Goebel, Mr Jan Ryno Smith, Dr Swantje Zschernack and the ESSA Chairperson (Andrew Todd) as an observer have been working tirelessly on the draft guidelines for certification. As you are hopefully all aware draft guidelines were circulated during July providing the ESSA members with an opportunity to critically engage with them and to provide the board with feedback. Thank you to all those that did provide valuable input to the document, I believe that we have now come up with a system that will a) ensure the quality of Ergonomists working within the South African context and b) be compatible with international


certification bodies. In fact I was recently at the Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics conference in Krakow, Poland where a special session on certification was presented and our model was certainly seen in favourably light.


We will in the next couple of months be in a position to start the certification process, a significant milestone in the history of our society. At this point I would like to acknowledge and thank Matthias Goebel for the extensive amount of work he has put into this.


If you have any queries or concerns regarding the process please do not hesitate to contact us or the PAB directly as they would be happy to engage with you.


Ergonomics Regulations:

In other important developments, the South African Department of Labour has formed a technical committee for the development of Ergonomics Regulations as part of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. As with all Regulations this committee consists of the tripartite members (government, business and labour), as well as experts in Ergonomics.  Three members of ESSA serve on this committee in an advisory capacity, and they have been hard at work assisting in the development process.


Although the exact contents of the Regulations remain confidential, the signs are extremely encouraging for our profession. It is tremendously exciting to see the South African government taking Ergonomics seriously. ESSA has been working closely with the Department of Labour in this regard and we will continue to develop this relationship in an effort to ensure that Ergonomics continues to grow in South Africa and that the interests of all parties are taken into consideration.  


SAQA Registration:

Coupled with this we have also been working towards official recognition of the society with the SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority). We have had our initial meeting with the authority and are in the process of collating the final documentation for submission. This will ensure that we as a society and profession are officially recognized with the South African National Qualifications Framework (NQF), another important step in ensuring the long term future of the profession in South Africa.


These three activities are very exciting and important developments for ESSA and its members. Many hours of hard work have been put into these initiatives by numerous people and we would like to thank them all for the hard work. We believe that some really important steps have been taken in the last couple years to ensure that ESSA is moving in the right direction and will be able to provide real value to its members.



We will be hosting the Annual General Meeting in Johannesburg on the 26th of November this year in the afternoon. In order to add value to the event, the AGM will be preceded by speakers in the form of a day conference. This is a very important day on the annual calendar so please diarize this date and ensure you make every effort to be there. More detail will be provided nearer the time.


We look forward to putting the above actions into place and welcome any feedback and comments from our Members.  Please do not hesitate to email us on





ESSA Committee