In 2015 alone, 852 Canadians died in workplace-related fatalities, according to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC).  Since that number only covers workplaces providing provincial compensation benefits, the real number is likely far higher. Reducing the frequency of such tragedies should be a high priority for governments, employers, and workers.

“Workplace fatalities continue to be stubbornly high,” says Paul Andre, Chair of the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (BCRSP). “That’s why we are advocating for increased regulation in the occupational health and safety (OHS) sector.”

The BCRSP is a public interest, not-for-profit certification body dedicated to the principles of professional health and safety in Canada. It develops comprehensive certification programs, while administering the Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (CRSP®) and Canadian Registered Safety Technician (CRST) certifications.

A solid framework reduces workplace incidents

The board, along with the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE), was a signatory on the Singapore Accord on the Standards of OHS Professionals. The signing of the Accord signified a commitment to promote the use and acceptance of the OHS Professional Capability Framework, which was developed by the International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organizations (INSHPO). The framework provides a common platform and greater clarity on the capabilities, knowledge, and skills required of OHS practitioners globally.

While provincial governments routinely review and update OHS laws and regulations, they stop short of establishing oversight procedures for OHS professionals. That poses a risk to workers, since employers can’t always verify that their OHS staff possesse the appropriate credentials and training to keep employees safe.

“Currently, anyone who wants to practice occupational health and safety can do so,” says Andre. “We strongly believe that a more regulated profession would lead to better outcomes.”

You can be an agent of change

In the absence of this oversight, the BCRSP stands alone in administering certification regimes that can be key tools for ensuring that qualified professionals are overseeing OHS. Individuals certified as CRSPs® must meet the highest standards of the certification’s academic, experiential, and examination requirements, with their knowledge and skills being upgraded through participation in mandatory continuing professional development programs.

For those wishing to pursue the CRSP® once they gain the requisite experience and education, the newly-offered CRST certification for entry-level OHS practitioners is a signal to employers of their commitment to the OHS profession. Achieving certification increases earning and mobility potential, providing greater opportunities for employment.

Whatever the stage of your career in the OHS sector, the BCRSP has a way for you to stand out amongst your peers, while helping you do your part to reduce workplace-related deaths and injuries in Canada.