Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
The Yukon government has opted to take more time before making safety certification mandatory for all construction contracts in the territory.
Any firm bidding on government contracts valued at $100,000 or more must have a Certificate of Recognition (COR), which signifies compliance with standards set by the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations. Affected jobs include rod, sewer and water main construction, transmission line tunneling, landscaping, excavation, demolition, trenching, blasting, plumbing, electrical work and welding, notes information from the Yukon Department of Highways and Public Works, based in Whitehorse.
When the program too effect three years ago, COR certification was necessary for jobs of more than $500,000. That amount was lowered to the current level in 2011, with the initial three-phase plan calling for all companies bidding on government contracts to be COR-certified by January 2012.
Pointing out that the Yukon has some small contractors in outlying communities, public works minister Mike Johnson says that he wonders if it is good value to require them to be certified.
“COR certification is not a good model for office workers and some of the other industries we have in the territory, so we need to take a look at that and who we would be capturing if we go down to zero. And is zero the next number, or should it be something in between?”
The Yukon is trying to make the process of obtaining COR certification easier for all companies. Johnson points to the ‘Small Employer Certificate of Recognition’, a more streamlined certification for businesses with fewer than 10 workers during peak times, and the ‘Owner Operator Certificate of Proficiency’.
“We’ve had good support from our workers’ compensation board (WCB), where they are offering premium rebates back to companies who are getting certified,” the minister adds.
Ann-Marie Stockley, COR program administrator for Northern Safety Network Yukon (NSNY) in Whitehorse, says the program is like a company’s proof of insurance, but for safety.
To obtain certification, an organization must have a full-time employee complete four health, safety and leadership training courses and starting 2012, ensure a majority of full-time supervisors do a leadership safety course. As well, a company’s health and safety program must be audited by NSNY and a score of at least 80% be achieved.
It has a different feel when a report, such as this one, (a few years old) can be shown as an example of how late health and safety has for an importance in the workplace.
I was very disappointed in the approach that the Yukon government used the Construction Associations to control the standards for the COR and not the government. That is why, in Ontario, the Ministry of Labour (MOL) has deemed to improve one key area, ‘Fall Protection’. The new ‘Working at Heights’ legislation was enacted April 1, 2015, and now all construction companies are required to have a proper record of training.
At the present time, there are approximately 40 companies that are registered to teach the actual course. I do hope that the Yukon government has taken upon themselves to have hired CRSPs or those with a new designation, CHSEP, to run their health and safety programs as they have so much training and can make a sizable contribution.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
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‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal – CHSEP – Advanced
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.