JOC ARCHIVES

September 17, 2007

Professional Development

Committee approves preparatory course for Construction Safety Coordinator exam

The national Gold Seal committee has approved a preparatory course for those gearing up to write the recently launched Construction Safety Coordinator examination.

Crafted by the same team that developed the CSC certification regime, representatives of major construction safety associations, the course details the occupational profile and also offers exam-writing tips.

“The committee sees this as a terrific tool to ease exam anxieties and to help local associations deliver additional services to their members,” said program manager Andrew Shepherd.

However, there are still some outstanding questions about how the course will be delivered and by whom.

Potentially, it can be offered by local and provincial construction associations, members of the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations as well as safety associations affiliated with CCA member organizations.

“In some cases, construction associations could opt to bring in safety experts as facilitators,” Shepherd said.

The committee opted to develop the safety coordinator prep course first because the CSC designation is brand new and addresses a sector where applicants are not as familiar with the Gold Seal program.

“As well, the development team was still in place. It recommended that the prep course be undertaken as a way to get safety personnel involved more easily in the program. It was efficient to act immediately on that.”

Construction safety coordinators work directly on construction sites. They are responsible for assisting management and other company personnel in the administration, development, implementation and monitoring of the safety, health and environment program.

Shepherd said applicants for the new Gold Seal designation come from “a very wide range” of backgrounds. In some cases, their sole responsibility is safety management. In other instances, they are responsible for several areas, including safety. “The prep course will focus all of these (applicants) on the profile and its expectations,” he said.

The profile is a detailed description of job and task components, responsibilities and the like. It is used as the basis for training and certification.

Shepherd said the committee also has found that many applicants have not written an exam “in a long time.” The course offers strategies for dealing with both multiple choice questions and essays.

The actual delivery format is up to the associations, Shepherd said.

“We anticipate some will deliver the material in half a day and others in a full day.”

Some 75 people applied to write the inaugural CSC exam in April. Fifty eight passed. “We expect the number of applicants to rise substantially now that the word has spread, and with the availability of this course,” Shepherd said.

The 15-member Gold Seal committee is looking at making preparatory courses available for other designations as well. The program also certifies construction project managers, superintendents, estimators and owners’ project managers.

The committee is made up of Canadian Construction Association board members, chief operating officers of member associations and industry experts.

Clive Thurston, president of the Ontario General Contractors Association, said introduction of the preparatory course “is a good thing.

“It’s needed,” he said. “We’re looking forward to co-operating with the Construction Safety Association of Ontario in implementation across the province.”

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