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Quality assurance

To earn or keep a certificate of recognition (COR), your organization's health and safety management system must pass an audit. Once the audit has been completed, your certifying partner will review the report to make sure it meets all criteria.

Certifying partner activities

An audit of your organization's health and safety management system is how your certifying partner will determine if your organization qualifies for a certificate of recognition (COR). If your organization is in the process of earning a COR, you must pass a certification audit. If your organization is already COR-certified, annual audits must be conducted according to your schedule; these audits would either be maintenance or re-certification audits.

Whether you can use an external auditor (someone from outside your company) or an internal auditor (an employee of your company) depends on whether you're passing a certification or maintenance audit and the number of employees in your organization.


Once an employer is ready to be audited, the employer contracts an auditor to assess its health and safety management system.

The life cycle of a COR certificate is three years. This means there is one audit every year: a certification audit to first achieve a COR, then one maintenance audit each of the two subsequent years. Audits must be completed on-site before the end of each calendar year.

The auditor you contract must be approved by your certifying partner. For external auditors, your certifying partner will have a pre-approved list of auditors to choose from. If you're using an internal auditor — someone from within your organization — he or she should have completed all necessary training with your certifying partner and be eligible to conduct those audits.

Once the audit is complete, the auditor submits the completed report to the certifying partner and the certifying partner conducts a desktop review.

Certifying partners perform desktop reviews on all audit reports. The first step involves making sure the auditor is certified and approved. The certifying partner then reviews the report for errors or omissions in information, flow, and other details.

The certifying partner and the auditor work to achieve a complete report document. If there are errors or issues with the report, the certifying partner will return the report to the auditor for further correction or improvement. The report will not move forward until the report completely meets the certifying partner's standards.

Once the certifying partner is satisfied with the auditor's report, the auditor sends it to the employer.

After receiving the auditor's report, the employer must create an action plan to address any deficiencies identified in the audit report and/or any recommendations made. Once the employer has created an action plan, the employer sends the plan to the certifying partner.

Once the certifying partner has reviewed the action plan, it will let WorkSafeBC know whether the employer passed or failed the audit. A pass or fail determines if an organization receives (or keeps) its certificate of recognition. Occasionally, WorkSafeBC will ask to see the auditor's final report.


COR auditors are specially trained and qualified to assess your organization's health and safety management system. As already mentioned briefly, there are two types of COR auditors:

  • External auditor — a certified individual from outside your company/organization with expertise in occupational health and safety auditing. A certified external COR auditor can conduct both certification audits and annual maintenance audits.
  • Internal auditor — a permanent employee (or dependent contractor) of the company/organization who has received special training from the certifying partner. If you are a small employer (fewer than 20 workers), an internal auditor may conduct both your certification audit and your annual maintenance audits. If you are a large employer (20 or more workers), an internal auditor may only conduct your annual maintenance audits.

Certifying partners develop the audit tools COR auditors use to evaluate employers' occupational health and safety systems. Each certifying partner has developed industry-specific COR audit tools approved by WorkSafeBC. Details about these tools can be found on most certifying partners' websites.

Each year, certifying partners audit 10 percent of the auditors on their approved list. This is to ensure auditors are following the code of ethics and there is consistency in their report writing.

WorkSafeBC activities

WorkSafeBC conducts its own quality assurance activities through two main initiatives.

Certifying partner audit process WorkSafeBC audits each certifying partner at least once every three years. WorkSafeBC checks to make sure the certifying partner is following section 1 of the Standards and Guidelines. WorkSafeBC also makes sure the certifying partner is following the terms of their contract with us, and good business practices.
Employer audit quality assurance (EAQA) process

The employer audit quality assurance (EAQA) process helps ensure COR-certified employers have a health and safety management system that meets minimum COR program standards. WorkSafeBC performs the EAQA process each year based on the following steps:

  1. WorkSafeBC assesses the data for all employers in the COR program.
  2. Any employer that meets certain criteria (e.g., a safety infraction or high injury rate) will be shortlisted.
  3. These shortlisted employers are further separated into three categories based on a qualitative review that looks at potential gaps in the employer's occupational health and safety management system:
    1. No further action
    2. Review of occupational health and safety system recommended
    3. WorkSafeBC-initiated verification audit (WIVA), similar to a re-certification audit

The addendum below (effective January 1, 2016) clarifies section 3.12 3 of the Certificate of Recognition Program Standards and Guidelines by describing the EAQA process. It defines the roles and responsibilities of WorkSafeBC, the certifying partners, and employers.

Addendum to Standard 3.12 Employer Audit Quality Assurance Process