Journal of Commerce | ConstructConnect™ Media | August 3, 2023
For more than a dozen years, the BC Construction Safety Alliance (BCCSA) has fielded a team of Regional Safety Advisors (RSAs), who advise the province’s construction employers at no cost to them. Seven RSAs are now assigned to cover four geographic regions: Vancouver Island, the Interior, the Lower Mainland and Northern B.C. Earlier this year, the program expanded its geographic reach, deploying RSAs in the areas of Fort St. John and Kamloops.
RSAs specialize in assisting smaller employers who may not be able to deploy the resources they need to overcome safety challenges. RSA services include answering safety questions, offering insight on WorkSafeBC regulations, helping employers with safety orders, delivering presentations on high-risk activities and defining the responsibilities of prime contractors.
They also support employers who apply for the Certificate of Recognition (COR®) Program, a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and rewards employers who implement an effective occupational health and safety management system and pass a certification audit.
“RSAs will consult with employers in whatever way they want to be reached, by phone, through online meetings or in person,” says Erin Linde, director, health and safety services with the BCCSA. “But giving employers expanded options to meet with an RSA in person around some of these smaller centres makes the RSA service more accessible.”
Some of the current RSA initiatives include reaching out to employers who work with concrete, in regard to the Jan. 1, 2024 deadline for concrete pump operators to be certified. After that date, it will be illegal for uncertified operators to operate a concrete pump in B.C. RSAs will direct operators to apply for Certified Concrete Pump Operator (CCPO) certification, beginning with a visit to the BCCSA’s CCPO website at www.ccpo.ca.
RSAs are also essential in making COR® accessible to smaller employers. While many small employers fill out an application for COR®, some of them don’t follow through. RSAs contact each COR® applicant to help them go from application to certification.
“These employers have already expressed an interest in filling out the application, and we know they want to keep their workers safe, but they may have limited resources and expertise,” says Vernita Hsu, director, cor® and injury management with BCCSA. “We don’t want to see that interest turn into a missed opportunity. Having an RSA on their team helps keep them motivated and provides the assistance and encouragement they need.”
RSAs will conduct a gap analysis of what the employer will need to do to meet the requirements of COR®, and develop a plan to achieve COR® readiness in advance of a certification audit. They will also assist in developing written safety programs and other materials that may be required to implement an effective occupational health and safety management system.
“As part of the Small COR® safety initiative, the RSA will start with a templated safety manual and work with the employer to customize it for their company,” Hsu says.
Even smaller employers who are aware of the RSA program are not always aware of the range of services and practical advice they can provide, Linde says.
“And many are surprised to learn that these services are available to them simply by asking, free of charge.”
To contact the RSA-of-the-Week, an advisor designated to answer your safety questions, please call 1-800-630-2664 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact a Regional Safety Advisor or to schedule an appointment in your area, please follow this link.
This content is an Industry Special by BCCSA in collaboration with ConstructConnect™ Media. To learn more about BCCSA, visit www.bccsa.ca.