Preventing workplace injuries is about more than just writing a safety policy, forming a JOHS committee or providing first aid training. It’s about making a commitment to your employees, customers, suppliers and community to continuously work towards a healthy and safe workplace.
WCB Nova Scotia encourages employers to demonstrate leadership and commitment to workplace health and safety by becoming WCB Safety Certified. A WCB Safety Certified accreditation is issued to companies who have passed an audit of their health and safety management system, and shows your employees, your customers and the province that your business takes safety seriously.
Improve workplace health and safety
Effective health and safety management systems are one of the best ways to reduce workplace injuries. By having these programs in place, you are showing your workers you care about their safety, being WCB Safety Certified is a visible demonstration of your company’s commitment to workplace health and safety. At the same time, eliminating the social and financial effects of workplace injuries can strengthen your business.
Attract new business and employees
Increasingly, more and more organizations want to do business with companies they know take safety seriously. Companies who want to bid on any work for the Government of Nova Scotia, particularly construction work for the Department of Public Works, are required to have WCB Safety Certified accreditation.
In recent years, a number of other major companies, universities and municipalities have adopted this requirement as part of their tendering processes.
People seeking employment are also drawn to companies that show they care about their workers’ safety. An active and effective health and safety management system can be a great benefit to your recruitment and retention efforts.
Receive premium rebates
WCB Nova Scotia offers a Practice Incentive Rebate program in the trucking and construction industries, which provides premium rebates for those that meet eligibility criteria – one of which is being WCB Safety Certified. This program will be evaluated for further industries in the future.
Starting January 1, 2024, the WCB Safety Certified audit will expand to include a return-to-work element as part of the assessment. The criteria that will be required to meet this element includes:
- A Return-to-Work Policy: establish, implement, monitor, and maintain a defined return-to-work policy that’s right for the size, industry, and location of the business.
- A Return-to-Work Program: establish, implement, monitor, and maintain a defined return-to-work program that’s right-sized for the business.
- Roles and Responsibilities: define the detailed responsibilities of those involved in supporting a worker after a workplace injury, such as the business owner, supervisor, worker, co-workers, and main point of contact through the process.
- Return-to-work training: ensure the business’s occupational health and safety management system includes training to ensure relevant roles are aware of and understand the return-to-work program, policies and the respective roles and responsibilities.
- Evaluation: establish objectives and measures to monitor and assess the return-to-work program and injuries that occur in the workplace.
More information and support materials will be available in September 2023.
WCB Safety Certified accreditation audits are conducted by audit providers approved by the WCB. During an audit, a provider will measure the effectiveness of your organization’s health and safety management system across 22 elements (23 elements starting January 1, 2024):
2. Compliance Assurance
3. Detailed Responsibilities
4. Management Communications and Commitment
5. Training – Management
6. Training – On-the-Job
7. Training – Orientation
8. Worker Participation
9. Incident Reporting and Investigation
11. Hazard Assessments
12. Work Refusal Process
13. Safe Work Practices and Procedures
14. Emergency Preparedness
15. Employer Rules
16. Contractor Health and Safety
17. Data Analysis / Objectives / Standards
18. Operational Health and Safety Meetings
19. Maintenance Policy and Program
20. Management Performance Standards
21. Permits and Special Procedures
22. Personal Protective Equipment
23. Return to Work (starting January 1, 2024)
Learn more about what an auditor may ask to help evaluate your health and safety management system: WCB Safety Certified Audit Example Questions
The duration of an audit depends on many factors, including the size of your organization, how many locations you have, your availability, and your organization’s readiness to undergo the process, for example. You will work with your audit provider to determine approximate timelines for your certification.
Please note: In most cases, it is unlikely that an audit can be scheduled, conducted, and certification issued in less than two to four weeks. If you are intending to bid on a tender that requires you to have certification, it is recommended you contact an approved audit provider as soon as possible to begin the process, so that you can submit the required information as part of your bid documentation.
To begin the audit process, contact a WCB-approved audit provider and arrange for them to conduct an audit of your health and safety management system.
In order to be WCB Safety Certified, the audit of your health and safety management system must be conducted by an audit provider approved to conduct WCB Safety Certified audits.
If a tendering organization requires you to have an independent, third-party audit of your health and safety management system to bid on a job, it would be up to that tendering organization to determine which audits they accept.
Approved Audit Providers
All WCB-approved audit providers can conduct a Safety Certified audit in any industry, though some may be more familiar with a particular industry than others. To help determine which approved provider best suits your needs, ask them to describe their audit process, the time involved, the cost, and their expertise with the health and safety aspects of your industry.
If you are registered business interested in becoming an approved audit provider, please email email@example.com for more information.
Most WCB Safety Certified accreditations are valid for between one to three years, depending on your audit provider’s procedures. If you would like to renew your certificate, please contact your current or another WCB-approved audit provider to begin the process for recertification.
If you have questions about becoming WCB Safety Certified or how a health and safety management program could benefit your organization, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.