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Certificate of Recognition (COR) audit program

In brief

  • Occupational health and safety interventions, including regulatory approaches, programs, and management systems, are key strategies for reducing worker injury and illness.
  • Certificate of Recognition (COR) audit programs use voluntary audit-based certification as a way of recognizing or encouraging effective OHS practices. COR programs provide premium rebates to employers who meet certain occupational health and safety management benchmarks or who have implemented a return to work program for injured workers.
  • We conducted independent impact evaluations of the COR programs in BC and Alberta, to assess how participation has affected firms’ injury rates and health and safety experience.
  • Both the BC and Alberta evaluations found that certification is associated with lower injury rates. Detailed results are available in the research briefs at right.

Key findings

  • In BC, COR certification was associated with a reduction in both STD, LTD and fatalities and serious injuries for most industrial sectors, and this effect was greater in more recent years.
  • In Alberta, our findings were generally consistent with BC, with the exception that SECOR (small COR) firms had no reduction in injury rate.
  • The consistent results across both provinces support the conclusion that COR certification leads to an injury rate reduction in most sectors. However, inferences on the effectiveness of COR certification in reducing a firm’s injury rate are limited to firms similar to those examined in the our analysis.

Next steps

  • Our team developed an analytic database of BC Construction Safety Association (BCCSA) COR audits, in order to investigate the effect of the COR program on firm injury claim rates in the BC construction sector specifically.
  • We are currently assessing the predictive validity of the BCCSA COR audit tool, to find out if better audit scores are associated lower firm injury rates, and whether individual element and sub-element scores on the audit tool are associated with lower injury rates.

Watch an interview with Chris McLeod, filmed by the Journal of Commerce at the BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association Fall Conference 2015, on the results of the COR evaluation.

Watch a plain language video produced by the Institute for Work & Health explaining the main findings of the BC COR evaluation.


Related publications

An audit-based occupational health and safety recognition program: Does certification lead to lower firm work-injury rates in BC?

Research brief. Full report available by request.
Based on research presented in McLeod C, Quirke W, McLeod K, Aderounmu A. Evaluating the effect of an audit-based occupational health and safety recognition program on firm work-injury rates in British Columbia, Canada, 2003-2016: a matched difference-in-difference approach. Final Report to WorkSafeBC. Vancouver: Partnership for Work, Health and Safety; 2019.

An audit-based occupational health and safety recognition program: Is certification associated with lower firm work-injury rates in Alberta?

Research brief. Full report available by request.
Based on research presented in McLeod C, Macpherson R, Quirke W, Koehoorn M, Aderounmu A. Is COR associated with lower firm-level injury rates? An evaluation of the effect of an audit-based occupational health and safety recognition program on firm work-injury rates in Alberta, Canada. Final Report to Alberta Ministry of Labour. Vancouver: Partnership for Work, Health and Safety, University of BC.

An audit-based occupational health and safety recognition program: Is certification associated with lower firm work-injury rates?

Research brief. Full report available by request.]
Based on research presented in McLeod C, Quirke W, Koehoorn M. Evaluation of the effect of an audit-based occupational health and safety recognition program on firm work-injury rates in British Columbia, Canada. Final Report to WorkSafeBC. Vancouver: Partnership for Work, Health and Safety; 2015.

Contact: Chris McLeod

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School of Population and Public Health
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Partnership for Work, Health and Safety
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Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z3, Canada
Tel: 604-822-8544

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