Over the last few months, as COVID-19 has challenged the world’s economy, it seems we’ve all had to dig a little deeper for anything that looks like “good news.”

Not to worry, we’ve got you covered!

Back in the spring of 2019, Expertec’s Human Resource Manager, Hayley Zalmanowitz, began the long process getting us ready for Canada’s Certificate of Recognition program (COR).

Even better?

She did it!

We’re very proud to announce that Expertec is now the newest holder of an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Certificate of Recognition in Alberta!

Now, for those of you who have never had to go through this process, it’s NOT an easy one.  The COR is, at its core, an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) accreditation program that verifies a fully implemented safety & health program is in place in a business and that system meets national standards.

It’s a long process designed to provide employers with “an effective safety and health management system to reduce incidents, accidents and injuries as well as their associated human and financial costs” and is one of the benchmarks used as a national standard by the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations (CFCSA).

Interestingly enough, despite being the national standard, the actual COR is attained and validated at the provincial level.

Despite our excitement as a company, the real work was done by Hayley with the support of our Joint Health and Safety Committee and Health and Safety Reps.  She was kind enough to give us some of her insights about the COR process.

“For starters, any company making the decision to certify really has to take everything they’ve ever done and start from scratch.  Back in May of 2019, we started from a clean sheet of paper.”

Team Members included Wes Bond, Karli Babin, Igor Cefko and Hayley from our Edmonton location, while Calgary’s operations were represented by Zak Urbanski.  Hayden McHaffie in Abbotsford, B. C. provided insights for their branch.

The challenges were nearly overwhelming.  Everything – policies, procedures, manuals – all had to be reviewed if they were already in use or created if there was any question about the systems.

Not only did this take an immense amount of time, it also required a lot of buy in from employees.

Ms. Zalmanowitz was quick to compliment her coworkers help.  “The biggest opportunities we found weren’t in understanding how something was done, or even the work flow, for example.  Our team understood principles like chain of command, or what to do if something happened.  The struggle was taking that knowledge and documenting it from beginning to end. Without their help and buy-in, we could never have achieved this.”

At its core, the COR shows that the employer’s health and safety management system has been evaluated by a certified auditor and meets the provincial standards, but, as Hayley pointed out, it’s a chicken-and-egg sort of process.

“Since the COR audits the health and safety management system of a business, you have to build that system to even begin the auditing process.  Of course, you have to understand the auditing process to build a system that meets the standards.

“It’s designed to make sure that any company that receives their COR has earned it … you can’t just whip something together and expect it to pass.”

But the system Hayley and our Joint Health and Safety Committee team built did pass, and with flying colors, and we are very excited about what they accomplished.

Now that all this hard work for Expertec has paid off, Hayley will have to internally audit these systems for the next two years, and in the third year, that same audit will be conducted externally.

We’re very proud to be able to hold such a certification and we are extremely proud of Hayley our Joint Health and Safety Committee’s hard work and determination to see the process through from start to finish.

OHS Certificate of Recognition in Alberta - Expertec