Don’t rush it.
That was the advice from one health and safety professional who shared his experience achieving the Certificate of Recognition (COR), during a panel discussion at the first-ever COR Summit held in Toronto May 30. COR is a health and safety audit tool and training program. Certification is granted by the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA).
“Take your time,” said Matt James, director of HSE, Spark Power, adding some companies try and rush through the process to win more business faster.
“Be diligent, be very familiar with the audit tool, be able to take each question for what it is actually asking and not what you think it’s asking. Be detailed with the information you are providing…If you take your time, you are more likely to achieve a higher success rate on your first attempt.”
The one-day summit, hosted by eCompliance safety software, brought together over 70 safety professionals interested in achieving and maintaining COR as well as COR experts to collaborate and share stories and ideas.
“You’re going to see changes but you have to be patient,” added Stewart Day, corporate safety manager, Amico Affiliates. “You’re not going to feel it year one, you’re probably going to start to see it year three, but you will see it happen throughout your organization.”
The panel was moderated by Cameron Mitchell, COR consultant and auditor, AudEng.
“I see companies that try and rush it and the culture suffers as a result,” explained Mitchell. “When somebody really understands the tool and they’ve spent the time, done the work and are well prepared, you can tell that it’s going to be easier.”
Another piece of advice was to get a fresh perspective on your health and safety system and to ask for help outside of your company.
“Bring someone in with a different set of eyes, a different view, a different skillset and trade resources,” said Day. “If you have an internal resource and you aren’t willing to pay, if you know another company and they have one see if they are willing to share health and safety co-ordinators for a day.”
The IHSA is another resource, he added.
“Some of the trainers have the ability to come in once and a while if their schedules open up so that’s something you can leverage,” said Day. “We leveraged that prior to our design-build external audit and it was amazing. We were able to fix some stuff last minute that could have been detrimental to our audit.”
Panelists agreed their companies set out to achieve COR in order to win business, but through the process have realized it has many benefits.
You see a reduction in events which obviously saves time and money
— Lee-Anne Lyon Bartley
“Let’s keep it real, it’s about business,” stated Lee-Anne Lyon Bartley, vice-president of health and safety at Dexterra, adding more buyers of construction are now requiring COR. “It’s a no-brainer.”
“We did it for business development the first time around,” explained Day. “The second, third and fourth times…we did it for consistency in the organization. The owner saw a ton of value… Now when we onboard people into our organization we have a consistent approach and our messages are clear.”
Getting buy-in throughout the entire organization is also paramount. For James, safety, COR and overcoming obstacles is about influencing change.
“Leadership made it very clear that health and safety is not an option, it’s something that we are going to be supporting and running with throughout the organization and if we’ve got the right individuals in place the key influencers and the ones that are going to drive change, then those are the ones that we want to promote in the organization,” explained James. “If we’ve got people that are not going to participate in the process, we need to move them to potentially different areas or out of the organization to make the change happen.”
Day said many organizations believe they are different and unique when it comes to safety.
“You’re not, I’m here to tell you that we’re the same,” said Day. “You have people, you have risk, you have processes, products and services so you’re not different from a safety perspective… Showing everybody that we’re all the same, we’re together and using that principle of involvement to get people in early on.”
What is the return on investment?
“You see a reduction in events which obviously saves time and money and people aren’t getting hurt so that I would say is the biggest return on investment,” said Lyon-Bartley.
“We do see a culture change as well. One of the powers with the COR audit process is the interviews. The fact that you have these conversations with people that are front-line and management and you really get a sense of what is going on…you see that people are actually genuinely wanting to work safer and that the organization supports them working safer that is one of the biggest return on investments you could ever have.”