“We will add your distinctiveness to our own.” A popular quote from Star Trek, this idea of taking the best of something to make it stronger is not something foreign to industry and safety leaders.
The ideal of development and growth is a pursuit of ongoing excellence and refinement that demonstrates our commitment to safety and those we are tasked with keeping safe.
In Alberta, employers have multiple obligations to workplace safety, and often, these obligations are spoken of seperately of each other to avoid muddying the waters.
Two of One - Part 2
Alberta’s Occupational Health & Safety Act, Regulations, and Code are designed to protect the worker from identified hazards in the workplace. This legislation is vanilla in nature as it applies to most industries across the province. Whether you’re a driver, a server, an operator, or a journeyman, the legislation applies. The OHS Code is more specific when it comes to specific industries, but when you look for transportation, you’ll find that there’s not much there, and what is there is associated with Powered Mobile Equipment.
The reality is that because transportation is one of those industries that is predominantly regulated at a federal level (and subject to the Canada Labour Code), the province of Alberta is required to follow Ottawa’s lead concerning worker safety. It creates a hybrid system that can come across as confusing, disjointed, and not something most want to tackle. Some would argue it has become a burden of “red tape” and want nothing to do with it.
However, it is in the process of managing that red tape and using it efficiently that will allow motor carriers to truly succeed.
This brings us to COR. The “Certificate of Recognition” Program (COR) is used by employers in Alberta and other provinces to demonstrate their commitment to occupational health & safety. This program allows employers the opportunity to go beyond legislation and structure a health & safety management system that exceeds legislation and foster a positive safety culture in their company.
COR Elements & Where Your NSC Program Fits In:
In the current iteration of the COR Program in Alberta, there are 10 required elements that must be present. Those elements are as follows:
1. Management Commitment
2. Hazard Assessment
3. Hazard Control
4. Health & Safety Committees / Representatives
6. Public / Visitors, and Contracted Workers
7. Inspections & Maintenance
8. Emergency Preparedness
9. Incident Investigations
10. System Administration
Your NSC Program Elements fit nicely into a number of these various elements. Carrier Safety fits into Elements 1, 9 & 10, Vehicle Maintenance & Inspections land in Element 7, Driver Safety (including training) lands in Elements 2, 3, 5, 8, and 9. Hours-of-Service fit in Elements 1, 3, 9, and 10. // A compliant NSC Program has specific requirements that must be met, but framing them in the context of COR allows you to have the best of both worlds and ensure full compliance at all times.
Alberta Labour, in association with Partners in Injury Reduction as well as WCB Alberta, governs this program and sets the terms and conditions companies agree to follow. In exchange for voluntary compliance, employers receive discounts on their WCB Premiums, a COR certificate and the right to use the COR Seal when promoting their business. Two programs exist: COR which is meant for 10+ workers and SECOR (Small Employer Certificate of Recognition), which is the same program, but scaled to 1-9 workers.
“Identified hazards in both COR and NSC Programs are THE EXACT SAME HAZARDS. How they’re managed is what’s different.”
A compliant COR Program addresses how a company manages workplace hazards and their controls. A compliant COR program assesses a company’s policies and procedures and validates them against operational documents, interviews, and worksite observations to determine whether a company is doing what they said they would do in their written program. A compliant COR program is audited on an annual basis, and certified/re-certified every three years. Elements of the COR Program include things as:
A) Commitment to Health & Safety
B) Training and Mentoring of Workers
C) Hazard Management
D) Preventative Maintenance & Inspections
What you might realize at this point is that there is some correlation between COR standards and the NSC standards mentioned earlier. The last hurdle is how to integrate the two programs together into a cohesive whole. The answer lies with the attribute that unites them: the hazards identifiied by both COR and NSC Programs are the same hazards.
The difference is how they are managed and the accountability. Once this is understood, the ability to merge these programs together makes a whole lot more sense.
Stay tuned, as part 3 in the 4-part series that will be released in August 2022.
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