Improving safety at the COR™ of the Alberta Construction Safety Association

Read the article on pg. 64 of the Central Alberta Builder – The official Publication of the Red Deer Construction Association.

Matthew Nasby
Matthew Nasby, COR manager for ACSA.

The Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA) is one of Alberta’s longest-standing Certificate of Recognition (COR)™ and Small Employer Certificate of Recognition (SECOR)™ certifying partners. Of the 10,500 COR-certified and SECOR-certified employers in Alberta, half were certified through the ACSA.

Matthew Nasby, manager of COR for the ACSA, believes that the organization’s solid reputation comes from providing high-quality services while focusing on continuous improvement. “Auditing is a snapshot in time… it’s an evolution of trying to do better, learning from what has worked, what isn’t working, and identifying what you need to do to improve your health and safety management system (HSMS) on an ongoing basis,” says Nasby.

The COR certification aims to prove that a certified auditor has evaluated an employer’s HSMS and meets a specific standard. It is in place to ensure a company has a functioning HSMS to improve safety within the organization.

Nasby says that research proves that COR-certified employers have fewer injuries and incidents. Achieving COR is one thing, but employers must also focus on continual improvement and it’s important to identify safety gaps in Improving safety at the COR™ of the Alberta Construction Safety Association

The ACSA can work together to get you the support and resources you need to improve. That’s another way that they can help, as this is a service they provide to members. Implementing safety in the workplace and ensuring that safe practices are followed is the main purpose of COR, but there are other benefits to the employer as well. Nasby says that it is proven to reduce workplace injuries. The WCB gives rebates to companies with COR, which can be significant for many organizations. If you’re a hiring company, COR reduces risk because you want to work with a contractor with an established HSMS. The ACSA also offers COR for smaller employers. SECOR criteria is like COR, and assessments are evaluated by ACSA – a certifying partner – not by the employer to ensure standards are upheld. At the end of the evaluation, they also provide feedback and recommendations to the employer for continuous improvement.

“The ACSA has another advantage. We have our own audit instrument that we are constantly improving,” says Nasby. “We consider the feedback we receive when making improvements. For example, we eliminated some redundant questions and revised the language in the 2023 audit instrument to increase efficiency while maintaining overall integrity. We also adjusted the scoring on several audit components to reflect the employer’s activities more accurately.”

COR is based on three validation techniques: documentation, interviews, and observations. With the demand for online learning and many organizations requiring distance learning due to their proximity to a training facility, many components of COR and SECOR are available online. Nasby says that the documentation and interviews for COR can be completed remotely. He adds that the third technique is physical observation, requiring boots on the ground. This is difficult to validate remotely, but because of the pandemic, they have learned how to manage observations remotely if needed. “The ACSA works collaboratively with our members and industry experts to continuously improve our programs across the construction industry,” says Nasby. “We work hard to maintain the program’s integrity while adapting to meet each sector’s unique requirements. For example, scaffolding has different needs from the pipeline industry.”

The ACSA is the largest member-centric, not-for-profit, industry-funded, certifying partner, driving safety and business excellence in the construction industry. We provide safety training and support services, NHSA and NCSO designations, COR and SECOR. We are here to support you in your safety journey and provide you with the resources to integrate safety excellence in your workplaces. For more information on COR or SECOR, email

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