The Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations (CFCSA) has officially endorsed a new harmonized national audit instrument which clearly aligns with the 2021 national COR® accreditation standard. This new audit will be used across most Canadian jurisdictions to verify that a company’s safety and health program meets the national COR® accreditation standard.
Along with identical questions to be used within the audit instrument, CFCSA members have also worked to harmonize guidelines, observation and interview questions. The goal is to keep the 14 elements of the COR® program the same across Canada – any additions or variations specific to a province or territory are intended to be identified in a supplemental section.
“The 2021 updates to the national COR® accreditation standard enhanced its quality, relevance and effectiveness with the new harmonized audit instrument strengthening the integrity of how the COR® national standard is verified,” said Sean Scott, who serves as the 2022-2023 chair of CFCSA and executive director of the Construction Safety Association of Manitoba (CSAM). “Whether you work in Newfoundland, British Columbia, Manitoba, or Yukon, the tool to verify COR® will become the same from coast to coast to coast.”
The CFCSA works as an umbrella organization for provincial and territorial construction safety associations with a shared interest in promoting awareness of construction safety and health; promoting harmonization of programs across Canada; improving information sharing; and collaboratively developing and promoting the use of industry recognized codes of practice, best practices, safe work procedures and standards.
With the implementation of these updates taking effect across most Canadian provinces and territories in 2023, it will be clearer, simpler and more consistent to implement and audit safety and health management programs from province to province. This means companies with offices in multiple jurisdictions will have to create and adhere to one central safety and health management system, rather than adjusting to varied requirements across each jurisdiction to verify COR®.
COR® is an occupational safety and health accreditation program that verifies a fully implemented safety and health management system that meets national standards. The objectives of COR® are to provide industry employers with effective tools to develop, implement, assess and promote continual improvement of their safety and health management system to prevent or mitigate incidents and injuries, along with their associated human and financial costs.
“Continuous improvement is critical in safety and health management, and the national COR® program has continued to evolve to remain relevant in meeting industry needs and expectations since its formal implementation in 2000,” said Scott. “Keeping safety practical for employers and workers has always been the intention of COR®.”
To achieve COR® accreditation, an organization must establish, implement, monitor and maintain a safety and health management system following the requirements of the national COR® accreditation standard. COR® accreditation involves the successful completion of three steps: completion of required training, implementation of the safety and health management system and verification by a CFCSA member that the national COR® standards are met.
“We’ve worked closely with all CFCSA members over the past two years to create these updates,” Scott said. “We feel very confident that the new national COR® accreditation standard and harmonized audit instrument will help build stronger jobsites across Canada, while also simplifying safety and health, so companies can save time and money in protecting their workers and their bottom line.”
The new harmonized national audit instrument was endorsed for CFCSA members at the June 2022 annual general meeting.
CSAM began transitioning to the harmonized audit instrument in November 2022. As part of CSAM’s change management plan, Manitoba companies can use the current audit instrument or the new harmonized audit for their next required audit. Effective Nov. 1, CSAM will only accept the harmonized audit instrument.
To learn more about the CFCSA, visit www.cfcsa.ca.
This article originally appeared in Build Manitoba magazine and is reprinted here with permission.
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