Prequalification

In early 2013, at the request of industry, a major renewal of the prequalification system was started by industry-led Steering and Working Committees. In November of 2013 a discussion paper was put forward by the committees with a request to industry to provide feedback on the changes they were proposing to the safety prequalification system known as "SAFE Companies".

Based on the feedback gathered over December 2013 and January 2014, the Prequalification Working Committee met in March 2014 and recommended a number of changes to the proposed audit standards to incorporate industry’s feedback including:

 

The steering committee approved these changes in May 2014 and BC Forest Safety Council staff will now pilot the revised audit standards over the coming months with all sizes of companies to ensure the new audits achieve their objectives: to be more effective, efficient and fully supported by industry. Once pilots have successfully been completed, the proposed audit standards will be submitted to WorkSafeBC to determine if they meet COR requirements.

One of the big changes is that BC Forest Safety Council Safety Advisors will visit SEBASE, ISEBASE, and IOO companies once every three years. Approximately 800 visits will take place each year. These onsite visits will include documentation review, interviews, and observations. These visits will also allow for increased coaching and sharing of best practices. Large companies may continue to use external and internal auditors.

The proposed in-field audit standard places more emphasis on interviews and observations as compared with documentation to confirm that the company’s written safety management system has been effectively implemented in the operational environment. During maintenance years, SEBASE, ISEBASE and IOO companies will continue to submit a paper audit.

The revised employer prequalification standard has been based on the Plan-Do-Check-Adjust (PDCA) cycle to more closely integrate safety with normal operational processes, which places equal emphasis on both the planning and the execution of work activities.

The PDCA cycle will also support the development of an educational component. Training for all companies will focus on how a safety management system is developed and practically integrated into the operational environment. This is a significant departure from the existing system where initial training is focused on preparing company representatives to complete the audit.

The revised standard places greater emphasis on managing the activities that attract risk rather than regulatory compliance and company size. This enables the standard to evolve and adapt to industry and company needs. Additional emphasis has also been placed on leadership, cascading responsibilities and effective worker and contractor engagement.

Certification Process

For companies entering the process, the first step would involve either a new mechanism of Endorsement or a full Prequalification Audit. To qualify for Endorsement, small companies would submit documentation supporting their health and safety management system. If the intent of the standard is met, the company would be provided with provisional Endorsement to bid on contracts. Upon the contract being awarded and the start of work activities, the company would be audited by a BCFSC Safety Advisor. For large companies, the full Prequalification Audit would be completed by an external auditor.

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