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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.
  • We worked with the BC Construction Safety Alliance and WorkSafeBC to assess the measurement properties of the specific COR audit tool used in the BC construction sector and identify the elements of the audit that are most predictive of firm work injury rates, with the goal of improving the design, delivery, and effectiveness of the COR program.

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 our analysis.
  • Scores on the BC Construction Safety Alliance audit tool were high and there was little variation for some elements. A subset of audit elements, including workplace hazard assessment and control, training and communication, and investigations and reporting were associated with variation in the overall score and were strong predictors of firm injury rates. Additionally, we identified 21 sub-elements that collectively best predicted firm injury rates.

Next steps

  • We are currently applying the research design we developed for the evaluations of the BC and Alberta COR programs to evaluate the Saskatchewan COR program.

Read about the results of our COR audit evaluations in BC and Alberta in the Institute for Work & Health At Work newsletter in Fall 2019.

Watch a slidecast of Chris McLeod presenting the results of our COR audit evaluations in BC and Alberta at the Institute for Work & Health Speaker Series in November 2019.

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.


Related publications

Performance of the COR® audit in BC construction firms: Do higher scores predict lower injury rates?

Research brief. Full reports available by request. Based on research presented in:

McLeod C, Saffari N, Cliff R, Jones A. Assessment of the British Columbia Construction Safety Alliance Certificate of Recognition audit score measurement properties. Final Report to WorkSafeBC and the British Columbia Construction Safety Alliance; 2020.

McLeod C, Yousefi M, Jones A. (2020). What occupational health and safety management system components predict firm injury rates in the British Columbia construction industry? Assessing the predictive validity of the British Columbia Construction Safety Alliance’s Certificate of Recognition Audit Tool. Final Report to the British Columbia Construction Safety Alliance. Vancouver: Partnership for Work, Health and Safety; 2020.

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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Tel: 604-822-8544

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