When it comes to Certificate of Recognition (COR) certification, sometimes it’s best to follow in the footsteps of others in the industry who helped pave the way.
Such is the reason why representatives from several COR certified companies will be on hand to share their words of wisdom during the COR Implementation Support Seminar that's being hosted by the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) and the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) on June 11 at the Centre for Health and Safety Innovation in Mississauga, Ont.
"They're bringing their material and their experience with them," explains David Frame, director of government relations with the OGCA.
"We expect a bit of inside information about what you need to do, what you need to make sure you don't miss, in order to get over the hurdle of the surveyor coming in and meeting the grade (to become COR certified). We anticipate coming out of this will be a huge flow of information that those who participate will be able to access."
The seminar is designed to provide firsthand information through open sessions and table group discussions.
Facilitators from Ball Construction, D. Grant Construction, Melloul-Blamey Construction, Aecon, Mike Moore Construction, P&C General Contracting, Percon Construction, PCL, Alberici Constructors, Walsh Canada and EllisDon are expected to attend.
According to Ken Rayner, vice-president, market development and labour relations with the IHSA, the intent behind the seminar is to replicate the Safety Groups model — a program administered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) where companies share best practices and help one another with their prevention programs, states the IHSA website.
"The Safety Group model has demonstrated that it can be successful in that companies have become comfortable with sharing and helping each other in that format," Rayner explains.
"We're testing the waters with this on June 11."
Attaining COR certification isn't quick and easy, Frame and Rayner explain, rather it's an extensive process that covers a wide range of areas, taking time to complete.
"We ourselves have gone through the COR process," explains Rayner, adding the IHSA thought "we really should be walking the walk instead of just talking the talk. It has not been easy for us. It has been a challenge. It does take a while for companies to get their mind around it. We're building something to last. The people that go to work, they place their trust in employers to keep them safe and COR is definitely a tool that can help achieve that."
COR certification involves several elements. According to the IHSA, step one begins with submitting a COR application form. Then there are mandatory training courses, where a representative from senior management must complete one course and a permanent full-time employee must complete three courses.
An internal auditor is eventually created within the company, and once the self-audit is conducted and results are submitted with evidence, an external third-party auditor will come to the workplace to validate that it meets the COR standard. This includes speaking to workers on site.
Once a workplace achieves COR, it is valid for three years "provided the employer performs internal maintenance audits in the second and third years and complies with the terms and conditions of the COR™ program," the IHSA states on its website.
The upcoming seminar will help those going through the COR certification process with specific areas that were highlighted as challenges in a survey to OGCA members.
Rayner says the feedback showed those in the industry "want more information from the resources that were on the ground, the boots on the street that actually did all the work. We want to understand from them, how did you do it?"
Hazard assessment, analysis and control, safe job procedures, preventative maintenance, statistics and records, and management review were areas identified by respondents that they had difficulties with.
With industry mentors showing what they did, companies can learn how best to achieve COR certification, Rayner adds, while learning more about how to address these areas.
"More and more large companies are very willing to share their documentation. We are looking to create an accessible library of documentation from some of these COR mentors," he says, adding the information will be posted online for reference.