Governing Board Chair, Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (BCRSP)
David Johnston, CRSP, EP is the Governing Board Chair of the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (BCRSP). He began his career in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) the same year the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act came into force and speaks with first-hand knowledge of the need for change.
Big “C” Change Needed
On the International Day of Mourning, the BCRSP joins this solemn day in grieving with families who have lost loved ones due to workplace tragedies and recognizes the suffering of those injured or made ill because of their work.
Canada has one of the worst safety records of all developed countries and deaths and injuries continue to rise. We say, “enough is enough”. Fundamental improvements in how we manage and regulate workplace safety is needed because a continuation of past practices is not sufficient.
Canada has one of the worst safety records of all developed countries and deaths and injuries continue to rise.
What needs to Change?
At present, anyone in Canada can call themselves an “Occupational Health and Safety Professional” even with no background, no training, or no experience in the field. There is no regulation on who can present themselves as an OHS professional.
With no oversight on the profession, it leaves the health and safety of workers and employers vulnerable to dangerous, reckless, or negligent OHS practitioners. The work by unqualified OHS professionals carries reputational and financial liability risks for employers and government and jeopardizes the lives of the workers who should be protected and safe while on the job.
Absence of government oversight or formal title protection, along with a multitude of low-quality certifications and designations has created confusion in the marketplace and is driving poor OHS outcomes.
We must do better for workers in Canada.
Only certified persons with credentials issued by a recognized organization meeting the requirements of ISO 17024 or the best practices established by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence should be legally allowed to represent themselves as a safety professional. This would be similar to other legally recognized professions, for example, engineers, accountants, kinesiologists, financial planners, home inspectors, and even beauty salon attendants.
BCRSP’s vision is “Safe and healthy workplaces through certification”. We believe significant progress and improvements in occupational health and safety will be realized when regulations are put in place to ensure only persons meeting recognized professional requirements are identified as a safety professional.
BCRSP is currently working with governments and other organizations towards achieving this goal so that workers’ lives are no longer put at risk by unqualified persons claiming to be an Occupational Health and Safety Professional. To help make this a reality, please consider obtaining the Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) or Canadian Registered Safety Technician (CRST) certification.
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