The goal of this current phase of the project is to develop a set of occupational competency standards for the OHS professional in manufacturing. These standards will clarify for employers the specific capabilities an applicant brings to an OHS role, cutting through the confusion created by the varied OHS certifications and designations available in Canada.
There may be as many as 300 occupational health and safety designations and certifications in Canada (Putter, K., OHS Canada, 2015), ranging from diplomas to assessment-based systems, each of which has different requirements and offers different guarantees of competency. The Market Information Research Report completed in Phase 3 of this project noted the different designations do not provide sufficient clarity for BC employers as to what an OHS professional can actually do in a given business situation.
As a result, the process of determining whether or not a given professional has the required skills and competencies for a given role can be frustrating both the employer and the OHS professional. As an example, the requirements for certification from both the CSSE and BCRSP were found overall to be highly focused on tenure, as opposed to demonstrated skills and competencies. There is no clear set of skills or competencies possessed by a holder of these designations.
This new standard is not being developed to determine who is (or is not) qualified to be an OHS professional. I provide clarity on the diversity of skills and competencies needed for a professional working within the manufacturing sector. The standard may also eventually be useful as a roadmap for professional development and a basis for accreditation, education ,and training programs for OHS professionals in BC.