What is COR™?
The Certificate of Recognition (COR™) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes companies who develop and implement health and safety and injury management systems that meet an industry standard.
The Certificate of Recognition (COR™) program is often required for contracts with both public- and private-sector construction projects in Ontario. For example, some municipalities expect their contractors to be registered with the COR™ program in order for them to qualify for bidding purposes.
What is an audit?
An audit is a comprehensive and detailed review of the employer's health and safety management system. The audit will typically cover the basic elements of a health and safety management system and will include interviews, documentation review and observation techniques.
A COR shows that the employer’s health and safety management system has been evaluated by a certified auditor and meets provincial standards. These standards are established by Occupational Health and Safety (OHS).
To get a COR, your business must first have a health and safety management system in place, and then have it successfully audited through a Certifying Partner.
What is a health and safety management system?
A health and safety management system (HSMS) is a framework put in place by employers to manage risks, establish controls, and minimize the incidence of injury and illness to their workers. This is accomplished through identifying, assessing, and controlling risks to workers in all workplaces. The scope and complexity of the management system vary according to the type of workplace and the nature of business.
What are the benefits of COR™?
- By achieving COR™, employers are able to demonstrate to buyers of construction that their health and safety management system has been developed, implemented, and evaluated on an annual basis through comprehensive internal and external audits.
- Audits will typically include interviews, documentation review, and observation techniques to evaluate how well the employer is able to identify, assess, and control risks to workers.
- The audit criteria used by COR™ are recognized by industries throughout Canada. Your company will be part of a nationwide network participating in and promoting health and safety excellence.
- In a situation where you have to demonstrate that you have an active health and safety management system, participation in COR™ is an asset.
- Firms that are registered in the COR™ program may qualify ahead of others for certain jobs. Buyers of construction can make COR™ a requirement for contractors bidding on jobs in order to be more confident in the contractor's health and safety performance.
- Protecting the health and safety of all workers at all times is the right thing to do. Effective development and maintenance of a health and safety management system is a proactive approach to eliminating workplace injuries and illnesses.
- A firm's corporate image will be enhanced within the industry and community. Commitment to a strong culture of safety will attract safety-conscious workers.
- Providing immediate proof that you have an effective health and safety management system in place will give your organization a competitive advantage. Buyers of construction can be assured that you will bring superior safety practices to the workplace.
- Your program will comply with COR™ national standards, since all stipulations have been endorsed by participating members of the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations (CFCSA).
What's involved in COR Accreditation in Ontario?
An ideal way to implement the ‘COR™ Strategy’ is through a 6 step implementation plan, preferably with help from an experienced COR support partner. Once you have established a process, you must set up resources that you will require to get started with the accreditation. These processes can be divided as follows:
Step 1 – Gap Analysis
It is recommended to perform a gap analysis on what is being done and what needs to be done to get the accreditation.
- It is always a good option to use the services of an expert external COR consultant for conducting a comprehensive COR gap analysis.
- Apart from serving as a vital OHS due diligence document, gap analysis by an expert external consultant provides you with an unbiased clear opinion on your program.
- In fact, external COR™ consultants will also make relevant recommendations if your program has gaps.
- Further, they will provide you with a clear road map of where the organization is and where it needs to go for achieving COR in Ontario.
Step 2 – Conduct job hazard analysis
- Job hazard analysis (JHA) helps you identify hazards based on activities performed.
- JHA helps in identification of job function hazards, and the probability and severity of workplace injury and/or illness as it relates to each categorized task.
- JHA helps you identify and develop the SJPs / SWP (Safe Job/Work Procedures) for high risk tasks, which is vital for COR™.
- JHA increases the overall health and safety awareness in the workplace, making it easier for building a health and safety culture, which is crucial for COR™.
- Seeking help from an expert COR™ support partner with regards to conducting a JHA is a good idea.
- A COR™ support partner can help you integrate your JHA with your business.
Step 3 – Implement an online system
- Next, you are recommended to implement an online safety training & management system to capture and store records largely for documentation.
- An online safety training and management system will make it much easier to maintain information, communicate with your workers, and keep your health and safety program alive.
- You can map your JHA that with an online system, which is an important feature.
- Apart from helping you with due diligence, online systems make it easier to track the progress of your health and safety initiatives, which is vital for achieving COR in Ontario.
Step 4 – Training front line supervisors
- The next step is to get all your front line supervisors and managers trained on understanding their responsibilities and the change in processes along with its requirements as the implementation takes place.
- This is crucial for COR™ certification since employee engagement is one of the major pillars on which the success of building a health and safety culture hinges. COR in Ontario is all about creating and sustaining a health and safety culture.
- The role of middle-management in COR™ certification just cannot be undermined. In fact, it is often the middle-management that tend to resist change the most.
- Training middle-management is crucial simply because COR™ involves a major strategic change that needs to be executed across all levels of the organization.
- It is your middle-management that will communicate your COR™ strategy across the organization.
- With the Occupational Health and Safety Act constantly increasing the emphasis on the role of supervisors within an organization in terms of health and safety, training your supervisors for COR™ becomes even more important.
Step 5 – Provide comprehensive training for all employees
- It’s good to ensure that all your employees undergo all the mandatory training and hazard-specific training.
- It’s also important to ensure that they get trained in all the new ways of carrying out their daily activities as well as filling in the required forms and checklists.
- Regular training conducted by you constantly reinforces your company’s message in the minds of the employees, slowly making it a part of your organizational culture.
- Technology plays a big role in making the training process seamless, user-friendly, measurable, and efficiently manageable.
- You can use online systems to train employees, manage their records, and monitor their performance easily and effectively.
- Regular training of employees is one of the best engagement strategies that you can adopt.
- Interactive training goes a long way in terms of creating the right atmosphere to build a workplace safety culture within your organization.
- COR™ is all about creating a sustainable health and safety culture within your organization over a long term. Employee training will help you in this regard.
Step 6 – Thorough monitoring
- The last step you are recommended to follow is to conduct thorough monitoring on an ongoing basis.
- It’s very important for you to ensure that what is being said in your program is being communicated, understood, and followed correctly by employees at all levels of your organization.
What are the elements of a COR™ Audit?
There are 19 elements in the COR™ Audit. Thirteen are common to all of the provinces that participate in COR™. Six supplemental elements are specific to Ontario.
- Policy Statement
- Hazard Analysis
- Safe Work Practices
- Safe Job Procedures
- Company Rules
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Preventive Maintenance
- Training & Communication
- Workplace Inspections
- Investigations & Reporting
- Emergency Preparedness
- Statistics & Records
- Occupational Health
- First Aid
- Health & Safety Representative/Joint Health and Safety Committee
- Workplace Violence & Harassment
- Return to Work
- Management Review
How do I join?
COR™ is a voluntary program, and therefore requires you to undergo a specific process to become a participant. Please contact IHSA online by clicking here and we will be glad to help you through the process.
How long does it take to go from registration to certification?
The length of time required depends upon the state of your existing health and safety management system. Many employers are currently meeting all the COR™ requirements, while others may require up to 18 months to successfully implement all elements of the program.
How long is my certification valid after successfully completing an External Audit?
The COR™ certification is valid for three years from the date of certification, provided the employer performs and successfully completes internal maintenance audits in the second and third years and complies with the terms and conditions of the COR™ program.
All internal audit results must be approved by IHSA. A Letter of Good Standing issued each year verifies that the training elements and auditing standards are maintained. In year four, the employer must reapply to the COR™ program and start the process over again.
As an Employer, how many COR™ certificates can I obtain?
All employers who are entitled to use the audit system must have an active Ontario WSIB account, and be in good standing. To obtain a Certificate of Recognition, each applicable WSIB account (employer number) held by an employer must independently achieve its own COR™. In order to participate in COR™, the employer should have a functioning health and safety program in place for at least one year. The program must contain the 19 elements required for the COR™ audit, although the elements may be listed under other headings. The auditor will take this into consideration when reviewing the audit.
As a "Senior Management Representative", is my only obligation to attend IHSA prescribed training?
In addition to the prescribed training, employers (Senior Management Representatives) have the following obligations.
- Ensure audits are properly planned and scheduled.
- Provide access to facilities and supporting information as requested by
- Actively participate in the COR™ audit process and maintain COR™ training requirements.
- Provide IHSA with feedback on the audit process to assist with continuous improvement.
- Ensure maintenance of their COR™ status is achieved on an annual basis, always prior to their anniversary date.
What if the person who completed the training leaves my company?
The training certification belongs to the individual who completed the training. To continue to perform the maintenance audits internally, you must send another representative to attend the training and have them assigned as your "Full-Time Permanent Employee". The COR™ certificate belongs to the employer.
If my company has more than one WSIB account number, does it make a difference to the audit process? Can one audit and COR™ cover them all?
Each WSIB account (firm number) held by an employer can independently achieve its own COR™.
Our company has offices all over Canada, and we are participating in COR™ in various other provinces. Can we use COR™ from other provinces and bring it into Ontario?
COR™ must be achieved in the province where your office is located. Therefore, if you have an office in Ontario and work in this province, you must achieve COR™ through IHSA.
Employers that have attained an out-of-province COR™ and do not have a permanent office in Ontario may apply for interim equivalency to the IHSA by providing an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, containing:
- confirmation from the host safety association that the employer's COR™ is current (e.g., a Letter of Good Standing from the host association)
- proof of training from the home province that the COR™ Internal Auditor course was completed. Documentation to accompany this should be a course transcript from the host association.
Should the request be successful, IHSA will provide to the employer an interim Letter of Good Standing. This document can then be used to accompany the employer's tender for the respective job bid.
*If the employer is successful in bidding on the job, they must enter into the process of an Internal Audit, then an External Audit, for the additional six elements in IHSA COR™ program.
What do I do if I have a complaint about COR™?
All complaints regarding the auditor, audit process, employer dissatisfaction, or the employer must be directed in writing to Safe-Tech Consulting within two weeks of the occurrence. Audit appeals must be filed within two weeks of the formal notification of audit results.
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