National Construction Safety Officer Updates

NCSO Program: New NCSO Standards

OVERVIEW – Effective September 1, 2017

The SCSA’s implementation plan of the NCSO changes includes a grandfathering of the previously accepted experience and a two year transition plan for those currently certified to attend training/renew training to meet the most current standards. A communication plan beginning in July to those currently registered in the SCSA NCSO program and those previously certified as a SCSA NCSO (since Nov. 2015) or SCSA CSO (prior to Nov. 2015).

The most recognizable change to the SCSA NCSO program will be the introduction of a written exam, nationally recognized by participating Canadian Federation of Safety Associations (CFCSA) members. The purpose of the exam is to verify a nationally recognized level of competency in relation to various construction-related health and safety management skills and principles.

SCSA NCSO Program Changes NCSO Effective Sept. 1, 2017 NCSO Since Nov. 2015 CSO Prior to Nov. 2015
Application with letter(s) verifying three years construction field experience within the last ten years – NO EXCEPTIONS

NOTE: Journeyman certification must also be accompanied by letter(s) verifying 3 years construction field experience within the last ten years.
Previously Not Required

SCSA will be grandfathering previously accepted experience
Previously Not Required

SCSA will be grandfathering previously accepted experience
Compulsory Courses (10), Elective Courses (2) and Proficiencies Requirements (2)

Two year transition timeframe to renew training
(Sept. 1, 2017 - Aug. 31, 2019)
Previously Not Required

Two year transition timeframe to meet new training standards
(Sept. 1, 2017 - Aug. 31, 2019)
NCSO written exam Previously Not Required
Will be effective Sept. 1, 2017
Previously Not Required
Will be effective Sept. 1, 2017
NCSO three year certificate with NCSO logo Previously Not Required
Will be effective Sept. 1, 2017
Previously Not Required
Will be effective Sept. 1, 2017
Maintenance requirements prior to renewal Previously Not Required
Will be effective Sept. 1, 2017
Previously Not Required
Will be effective Sept. 1, 2017
Reciprocity Recognition & Provincial Legislative Exam Previously Not Required
Will be effective Sept. 1, 2017
Previously Not Required
Will be effective Sept. 1, 2017

 

Exam

The exam will include various content from the previous NCSO courses taken. Individuals are expected to have the ability to self-study and register for the exam when they are prepared. The exam will be offered in both SCSA office locations (Regina & Saskatoon) on pre-determined dates. Photo ID will be required on the date of the exam. The cost of the exam is $50.00 plus GST and pre-payment is required at the time of registration, non-refundable. Individuals must abide by the “Exam Guidelines” and NCSO Code of Ethics during the exam. Failure to do so will result in the individual immediately being removed from the exam and further penalty to be determined by the SCSA Operations Manager.

The exam will be available in English only. The layout and weighting of section scoring will not be released. Individuals are given a maximum of two hours to complete the closed-book exam. The exam requires a passing score of 75%. However, only a pass or fail indication will be revealed to the individual by letter. Under no circumstances will the individual be able to receive their score in % nor will they receive the exam back. Marking of the exam may take 4-6 weeks.

Upon failure of the NCSO exam a waiting period of 90 days will be enforced before the individual may re-write the exam. Each attempt will cost $50.00 plus GST. A maximum of two re-writes will be allowed. Failure to achieve NCSO certification following a second re-write will result in the individual having to submit a new SCSA NCSO Application Form and experience letter(s) for consideration. Acceptance would be dependent on the individual meeting the national standard experience criteria as of Sept. 1, 2017. Upon acceptance the individual will be required to repeat all current Compulsory Courses (10) and Elective Courses (2) before being eligible to write the NCSO exam to achieve the new three year NCSO certification.

Currently Registered

For those currently registered in the SCSA NCSO program the new NCSO national standards agreed upon at the CFCSA level will be effective September 1, 2017. The previously submitted/accepted experience letter(s) will be grandfathered, all current Compulsory Courses (10) and Elective Courses (2) remain the same and must be completed and maintained before being eligible to write the NCSO exam to achieve NCSO certification.

NCSO Certified

For currently certified SCSA NCSO’s (since Nov. 2015) the new NCSO national standards agreed upon at the CFCSA level will be effective September 1, 2017. The SCSA is offering a two year transition timeframe for previously certified individuals to meet the new NCSO national standard. This transition timeframe is effective September 1, 2017 – August 31, 2019.

The previously submitted/accepted experience letter(s) will be grandfathered, however the individual must have maintained all current Compulsory Courses (10) and Elective Courses (2) before being eligible to write the NCSO exam to achieve the new three year NCSO certification.

CSO Certified

For those currently certified SCSA CSO’s (prior to Nov. 2015) the new NCSO national standards agreed upon at the CFCSA level will be effective September 1, 2017. The SCSA is offering a two year transition timeframe for previously certified individuals to meet the new NCSO national standard. This transition timeframe is effective September 1, 2017 – August 31, 2019.

The previously submitted/accepted experience letter(s) will be grandfathered, however the individual must complete all current Compulsory Courses (10) and Elective Courses (2) before being eligible to write the NCSO exam to achieve the new three year NCSO certification.

Failure to Transition by August 31, 2019

For both previously certified SCSA NCSO’s and CSO’s, failure to achieve certification meeting the new national standard before August 31, 2019 will result in the individual having to submit a new SCSA NCSO Application Form and experience letter(s) for consideration. Acceptance would be dependent on the individual meeting the national standard experience criteria as of Sept. 1, 2017. Upon acceptance the individual will be required to repeat all current Compulsory Courses (10) and Elective Courses (2) before being eligible to write the NCSO exam to achieve the new three year NCSO certification.

New NCSO Certification

The new NCSO certificate will be valid for a three year period. Individuals shall receive a wall certificate, wallet card and passport sticker. Evidence of completion will be evident through the introduction of a nationally recognized NCSO logo and certificate with three year expiry. These will be key indicators to employers of those who have achieved NCSO certification, meeting the new national standard.

Maintenance of New NCSO Certification

Holders of the new NCSO certificate are solely responsible to maintain any/all Compulsory Courses and Elective Courses which expire as well as maintaining a valid SCSA Internal Auditor status.

The following submission items are required before the NCSO certificate expiry date:

  • copies of any valid certificates (proof of maintaining courses which expire)
  • one personal maintenance audit during the three year validity of the SCSA Safety Auditor Training. The audit must be conducted using the SCSA national standard audit document. Best practice is to submit the required audit to the SCSA no later than four months prior to their SCSA Safety Auditor Training expiry date to allow time for the audit review and possible corrections.

Failure to Maintain New NCSO Certification

Holders of a new NCSO certificate (three year expiry) are solely responsible to submit all maintenance requirements in sufficient time prior to expiry. Failure to meet the maintenance requirements before expiry will result in the individual having to write the NCSO exam to renew certification. Once again, all NCSO training requirements must be met before being eligible to write the NCSO exam.

Equivalency of New NCSO Certification

Holders of the new NCSO certificate will benefit from the ease of transferability to other provinces. At minimum, a component of a provincial legislation exam will be required per province via the local participating CFCSA members. The individual shall present their home province NCSO certificate and photo ID to the local participating CFCSA member in the province which they intend to work. Upon successful completion of the provincial legislation exam (and possible training to meet provincial legislation on-site requirements) an NCSO equivalency certificate will be issued to the individual. The local participating CFCSA member will match the certification expiry date of the individual’s home province NCSO certificate. Individuals shall receive a wall certificate and wallet card.

Equivalency Maintenance of NCSO Certification

Holders of an NCSO equivalency certificate are solely responsible to provide a copy of their home province NCSO certificate each time it is renewed in order to maintain their equivalency status in another province. A training transcript issued by your home province safety association may be requested for equivalency purposes to verify all courses are valid at the time of certificate issue. Possible training to meet provincial legislation on-site requirements may be applicable. Upon recertification individuals shall receive an updated NCSO wall certificate and wallet card.

Failure to Maintain NCSO Equivalency Certification

NCSO Equivalency certification is dependent on maintaining the NCSO standards required in your home province. Equivalency certification may be revoked for failing to provide a copy of your renewed certificate. Contact locations you obtained equivalency from for further information if you have expired.

Should you have any further questions, send an email to ncso@scsaonline.ca
Please refer to this webpage for updates as they become available.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – Effective September 1, 2017

Why should I become an NCSO?

This is considered an entry-level certification for an individual who has a minimum of three years field experience in the construction industry. Achieving certification recognizes a combination of formal training and on-site field experience in basic health and safety and verifies a nationally recognized level of competency. Many employers view an NCSO’s as a valuable resource in the administration and implementation of a company’s health and safety management system. This program is a starting point for those interested in pursuing a career in health and safety. Individuals may or may not have extensive safety experience.

Why have there been changes to the NCSO Program?

Continual improvement is the premise of successful health and safety management systems. The Canadian Federation of National Safety Associations (CFCSA) members signed a new agreement in June 2017. Through collaborative works of the CFCSA, new standards have been introduced to strengthen the program, increase acceptance and support reciprocity among provinces.

Did the SCSA change the courses required for NCSO?

No, the same required courses have been in place for quite some time. The only addition is a comprehensive NCSO exam.

Why introduce an NCSO exam?

The completion of a nationally recognized exam verifies the NCSO meets the national standard. The new certification truly supports the NCSO as they transfer between provinces.

What can you tell me about the exam?

Here are some brief details:

  • exams will be scheduled on pre-determined days, just like SCSA courses
  • cost is $50.00 plus GST (non-refundable)
  • photo ID will be required at the time of exam
  • closed-book, written exam, maximum two hour timeframe to complete
  • score of 75% is required to pass
  • no pre-course or study class will be provided
  • no % score will be revealed to the examinee, only a result of successful or not successful
  • examinee will not receive the exam back

If I am unsuccessful (score less than 75%) on the NCSO exam, may I re-write?

Yes, a waiting period of 90 days will be enforced before you may re-write the exam. Each attempt will cost $50.00 plus GST. A maximum of two re-writes will be allowed. Failure to achieve NCSO certification following a second re-write will result in the individual having to submit a new SCSA NCSO Application Form and experience letter(s) for consideration. Acceptance would be dependent on the individual meeting the national standard experience criteria as of Sept. 1, 2017. Upon acceptance the individual will be required to repeat all current Compulsory Courses (10) and Elective Courses (2) before being eligible to write the NCSO exam to achieve the new three year NCSO certification.

Why expire the NCSO certification and require maintenance for recertification?

Renewal/refresher training is best practice in the areas of compliance, safety, quality, processes and procedures. This will ensure you are staying current with construction health and safety standards. Conducting/submitting one audit in the three year validity of your SCSA Safety Auditor Training certification reinforces previous knowledge and skills.

If I pass the NCSO exam how will my employer know I upgraded my NCSO certification to the most current standard?

The new NCSO certificate will be valid for a three year period. You will receive a wall certificate, wallet card and passport sticker. Evidence of completion will be evident through the introduction of a nationally recognized NCSO logo and certificate with three year expiry. These will be key indicators to employers of those who have achieved NCSO certification, meeting the new national standard.

Are all provinces recognizing this NCSO exam?

Nearly a dozen CFCSA members are recognizing the NCSO exam with the exception of Quebec and Nova Scotia.

Do I have to write another NCSO exam when working in another province?

No, if you are interested in obtaining a NCSO certification in another province, the NCSO exam will be accepted by members of the CFCSA (with exception of Quebec and Nova Scotia). However, at minimum a provincial legislation exam will be required per province and there may possibly be additional training to meet provincial legislation on-site requirements.

 

PDF VERSIONS:

National Construction Safety Officer (NCSO) Program: New NCSO Standards - Overview (PDF)
National Construction Safety Officer (NCSO) Program: New NCSO Standards - Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)