Attendees at the recent COR Summit in Toronto were given tips from an insider on how to be successful going through the Certificate of Recognition (COR) program.
Scott Needs, a COR consultant with the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA), urged the audience to use the tools and resources that are available.
“There are quite a few tools out there,” said Needs. “COR audit instructions give you some basic guidelines of how to go through this. But what’s really important if you’re starting your journey through COR, please download the COR handbook on our website. It’s been very helpful.”
Certification for COR, a health and safety audit tool and training program, is granted through the IHSA. While it has been around for decades in western Canada, it is still relatively new in Ontario.
“The unfortunate part is there are not a lot of peers in Ontario,” said Needs, adding the summit, hosted by eCompliance safety software, is a great way to bring health and safety professionals together to discuss their experiences. “Now there are a bunch of peers in the room that can share information, share successes and share stories of what was positive and what was negative so we can all grow.”
Needs said there are a lot of instructions and it is important to read through all of them. He also said consultants are available to help answer any questions.
“If you’re not sure about something give us a call,” said Needs. ”You can’t say anything wrong to us. If you ask a solid question we will give you a solid answer. If it’s not the one you want to hear, I’ll try a different way. If it does not compute with the two of us maybe you can talk to one of my colleagues, maybe they have a different version that can help you out.”
For those who do not follow the proper process, the audit may be returned.
Write your auditor notes like you are presenting it to your management
— Scott Needs
Infrastructure Health and Safety Association
“You may have to revise it and resubmit and your timelines for achieving COR can be impacted,” he said, adding he often deals with companies who want to be certified overnight.
Revising your safety management system before the audit is important, he said.
“A piece of paper is just black and white but you also need that culture piece, you’ve got to get out there and talk to people, see what is going on and that’s really where you are verifying if that system works,” explained Needs. “Whoever the ‘Negative Nancy’ or ‘Terrible Tom’ is in your system, give them your manual and say ‘did I do this correctly?’ They will rip it apart and give you every mistake. Use their negative energy to help you out because it really is an audit so if they can find some of the mistakes in your submissions you will be successful going through.”
With respect to the audit document, he said it’s important to know what legislation applies to your company.
When completing the audit tool, it’s really important to note that auditors only follow directions.
“I can’t guess at what is going on so when you are filling out these audit tools simply follow the questions and provide a positive response,” said Needs.
“Write your auditor notes like you are presenting it to your management, not like you’re presenting to the auditor. If you provide me with a great answer and highlight where I can find it and it’s very straightforward that this is where I have to look, I can move on.”
One simple tip is make sure all the required documents and tools are there and complete before submitting.
“There’s an easy checklist of things to go through just so you don’t forget,” said Needs. “Believe it or not 25 per cent of the time we get no audit tool…I don’t know if they’re excited about handing in COR and they just forgot or they didn’t follow the training instructions.”
He also stressed the importance of taking a team-based approach and not having just one person do the audit. Everybody needs to be involved, especially management.
“It’s not your audit, it’s your management’s audit that you’re submitting to IHSA,” Needs pointed out.
“If it is ‘me, me, me’ then I share the success and I share all the blame with myself. So please involve as many people as you can, get them in there and get senior managers’ signatures on it. It’s their submission of your information so they are verifying all of this…most of the success for your audit submission has nothing to do with me. It has to do with the team that put it together.”