Faq

General

1. What is the NCSO?

The NCSO is a new national safety designation designed to replace a number of similar provincial designations. It was approved by the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations (CFCSA) after several years of discussion and consultation with stakeholders across the country. In BC, it will replace the Construction Safety Specialist (CSS) designation, previously offered by the BCCSA. The NCSO offers several benefits for both safety professionals and employers. For example, BC NCSOs may also be able to serve as Internal Auditors for the Certificate of Recognition (COR) program. *If you have a valid COR Internal Auditor certificate from another province please email training@bccsa.ca for equivalency details.

2. Why should I get my NCSO?

There are many advantages to having an NCSO designation. Many employers recognize the NCSO designation as a value-added qualification associated with someone who has an interest in pursuing a career in health and safety within the construction industry. Meeting the requirements of the NCSO designation demonstrates a person’s skill level, education, and commitment to workplace safety. It is considered an entry-level designation. The NCSO designation is recognized province-to-province through the provincial Construction Safety Associations. Through a commitment to professional development in the NCSO Terms of Participation, individuals holding this designation will remain current and up-to-date with legislative changes and industry trends.

We have enhanced the HSE practitioner requirements in response to industry demands. In doing this, we created alignment with a National Standard – allowing inter-provincial reciprocity and mobility. Lifelong learning benefits you and the HSE profession and encourages recognition of evolving standards and technology presented in this industry. We will all benefit from this maintenance!

3. What is the NHSA and why should I pursue this designation?

The National Health and Safety Administrator (NHSA) designation provides formal, entry-level training to individuals who are active in the administration of their company’s health and safety program, but do not currently possess a minimum of three years construction safety related field experience. If you are new to Canada or if you do not work in a position that provides for construction ‘field experience’ this designation is best suited for you.

NHSA indicates to employers that an individual has practical and theoretical knowledge in various health and safety management skills and principles. An NHSA designation holder offers valuable administrative support to the company and NCSO™ by implementing and maintaining the company health and safety program.

The NHSA designation is the first step towards a becoming a leader in the construction safety field!

4. What’s the difference between NCSO™ and NHSA?

The distinguishing difference between the designations is the requirement for three (3) years of ‘field experience’ in construction, gained in Canada. Field experience is required for the NCSO™ designation, however it is not required for the NHSA designation. NHSA applicants will only be required to complete the 2 days of training for the COR Internal Auditor course, and not the student audit assignment.

Note: A COR Internal Auditor certificate will only be issued to those who complete the Student Audit Assignment.

5. When did the NCSO designation and NHSA designation come into effect in BC?

The NCSO application became available as of January 1, 2017. The NHSA designation became available
as of January 20th, 2017.

7. Are there any prerequisites or experience requirements?

No, academically not.

However, experience wise, you must have construction field experience for the NCSO. (The construction field experience does not apply for NHSA).

Definition of construction field experience: a construction worker (laborer or skilled construction tradesperson) working directly and actively in the construction field (i.e: residential, commercial, industrial, road building, pipeline construction, mobile equipment operations, etc.); or, an individual who is directly and actively engaged in safety (i.e: site safety coordinator) or responsible for the supervision (i.e: site superintendent) of the construction worker, who also works directly and actively in the construction field. Please note, construction field experience is counted only for experience gained within CANADA. Experience gained outside of Canada will not be counted towards the NCSO application.

8. What are the steps to obtain my designation?

Obtaining the NCSO is a multistep process:

1. Review the Terms of Participation

2. Complete the 10 Compulsory courses and any of the 2 Elective courses
BCCSA NCSO FAQs Page | 3 Revised Dec, 2017

3. Collect documentation of your field experience (not applicable for NHSA)

4. Complete the Safety Proficiency Assignment

5. Agree to the NCSO Terms of Participation and Code of Ethics

6. Complete the NCSO Application Form and Submit to the BCCSA ($125 nonrefundable application fee) BCCSA will review your Application

7. Write the NCSO Exams ($60 – National Exam; $40 – Provincial Exam)
Upon approval and completion ‐ BCCSA will provide you with your NCSO designation!

9. Will I receive a certificate?

You bet! Once you complete all course requirements and pass the exams you will be issued a threeyear certificate recognizing your designation with an identification number that will feature the national NCSO™ or NHSA logo. We will also publish names of successful NCSOs and NHSAs on our website. This will help raise awareness of the bank of NCSOs and NHSAs available and will also allow employers to verify a potential employee has a valid designation.

10. How long will it take to obtain the NCSO or NHSA designation?

The length of time varies. It depends on your time, resources and course availability.

11. How much will it cost to get my NCSO or NHSA designation?

This depends on a number of factors such as the number of courses you have completed already and if
you are employed with an organization that is a member of the BCCSA.

12. What forms of payment do you take for my NCSO or NHSA application?

You can submit your payment with your online application using Visa and MasterCard (credit cards or prepaid credit cards). BCCSA does not accept payment via debit card.

13. How is the NCSO different than the other safety designations?

An NCSO designation is an entry‐level field position for individuals in the construction industry who have 3 or more years of construction field experience. To understand how the NCSO compares to other safety designations please review this document developed by the Canadian Society of Safety Engineers (CSSE), Hiring a Health and Safety Practitioner. This guide outlines some of the more common safety designations and certifications required for safety practitioners.

We recommend you research the benefits of all designations before making a decision.

14. My tickets are not uploading onto my NCSO Application Portal.

Make sure the file name is less than 50 characters long and that it is in either a (Adobe) pdf, (word) doc, (imagine) png, gif, or jpg. For example, shorten “BC Construction Safety Legislation and Administration” to “leg”.

Faq

Training

15. What training will I need?

In British Columbia, you must complete 10 compulsory courses – eight offered by the BCCSA and two (fall protection and occupational first aid level 1 or higher) available from approved training providers. You must also complete two of the 7 elective courses. To see a full list of required courses and electives, please visit the NCSO homepage.

16. Is there a specific order I must complete the training?

No. Except for COR Internal Auditor Training course (PHSM is a co‐requisite), the mandatory and elective courses do not have any pre‐requisites, so you can complete the training in the order that suits your schedule.

17. I cannot find any courses in my region/city. Do you offer courses here?

Course schedules are based on demand. To run a course, we need a minimum of 8 people. If you have 8 people ready to enroll in a course, please contact our training department at training@bccsa.ca to schedule a course.

18. Is there a time limit for completing the training?

No. You may proceed through the requirements at your own pace; however, exams will only be offered a certain number of times per year. All certificates must be current and valid at time of application submission.

19. I have taken courses from a provider that does not show on your list of Approved Training Providers, can I submit my course for equivalency?

No. We only accept course equivalencies from provincial associations affiliated with the CFCSA and approved training providers. The list of approved training providers will be reviewed annually and updated periodically.

Experience (Not applicable to the NHSA)

20. Do I need to have construction experience specifically to apply?

Yes. You will need to have direct construction field experience totaling a minimum of three years within the past 10 years.

The definition of construction field experience: A construction worker (laborer or skilled construction tradesperson) working directly and actively in the construction field (i.e: residential, commercial, industrial, road building, pipeline construction, mobile equipment operations, etc.); or an individual who is directly and actively engaged in safety (i.e: site safety coordinator); or responsible for the supervision (i.e: site superintendent) of the construction worker, who also works directly and actively in the construction field.

Faq

Proficiencies

21. Are there any additional requirements?

Yes. You must submit a Safety Proficiency Assignment (SPA) which includes 4 components:

1. Toolbox Talk/Safety Meeting
2. Site Inspection
3. Hazard Assessment
4. Incident/Near Miss Investigation

22. Is this Safety Proficiency Assignment optional or do I have to complete it?

The SPA is a mandatory component for all applicants. It is a tool used to evaluate the participants’ ability to apply what they have learned in the classroom training. Download the document titled NCSO Safety Proficiency Assignment.

Please note, if you have your NCSO designation from another province or your CSS, you will have already met this requirement and do not need to resubmit.

Faq

Exams

23. Will there be an exam?

Actually, there are two: a national and a provincial exam. These exams are required for the NCSO and NHSA designations. Both are written and the passing grade is 75%. The national exam will test on general health and safety knowledge as it relates to the construction industry, while the provincial exam will focus on provincial health and safety legislation. Exams will be offered at certain times of the year and the fee is $60 for the national exam and $40 for the provincial exam.

24. When are exams scheduled for?

Examination dates are scheduled based on demand. Once your application is submitted and approved, you will receive upcoming available exam dates.

25. Are the exams online or do I have to write them in person?

Exams will be offered in person only.

26. What if I fail?

If a candidate completes an exam unsuccessfully, they will be required to wait 90 days before reattempting the exam. A second unsuccessful attempt will result in a 12-month waiting period. After 3 consecutive unsuccessful attempts, the candidate will have to repeat all NCSO®/NHSA™ compulsory and elective courses and restart their application before being eligible to write the exam again.

Each additional attempt costs $60 + GST for the National Exam and $40 + GST for the Provincial Exam.
Any unsuccessful attempts in other provinces will not affect your status with the BCCSA.

27. How will I know if I passed or failed?

An email will be sent informing you of your results for the exams. It will state a pass or fail along with next steps. Mark details are not disclosed to maintain the integrity of the exams.

28. Will I have to write the NCSO exam in every province or will there be a supplemental exam to cover the differences in provincial legislation?

You only have to successfully complete the national exam once. However, each province will have their own supplemental legislation exam.

29. Is there a study guide?

Yes, there is preparatory material intended to help applicants write both exams. The NCSO Study Guide shows how the items on the exam are distributed across domains. Applicants are encouraged to review
Participants Manuals from the BCCSA courses, create a study plan to focus on subjects/areas less familiar. Examinees may bring their HandiGuide as this will be a reference text used during the Provincial Exam. Note: you must have the 2015 version or newer of the HandiGuide. One can also be provided at request. There are also exam blueprints available online.

Faq

Equivalencies

30. I have my CSS from BCCSA. Does that mean I will automatically receive the NCSO?

No. You need to complete three additional courses: BC Construction Safety Legislation and Administration, Fall Protection, and WHMIS Train the Trainer and pass both the provincial and national exams. Note, the BCCSA is no longer accepting CSS applications and will remove CSS from the website August 31, 2017.

31. If I have an NCSO from another provincial association, do I automatically get an NCSO in BC?

No. However, all you need to complete is two courses: BC Construction Safety Legislation and Administration and Fall Protection, and pass both the provincial and national exams. Your BC NCSO certificate will be issued with the same expiry date as your other valid NCSO certificate.

32. I do not have my NCSO from another provincial association but I have completed some courses, are they recognized by BCCSA?

Yes. Some courses obtained from another provincial safety association affiliated with the CFCSA are equivalent to BCCSA’s courses. Contact ncso@bccsa.ca to determine if your course is equivalent.

33. I have my CSO designation through ASTTBC, is it recognized?

The CSO designation acquired through ASTTBC is awarded based on specific educational requirements from other training providers. We too recognize the training aspect of this designation. If you have successfully passed the 2 week CSO program from BCIT, ER Plus or the Care Institute, you automatically receive equivalency for Leadership of Health and Safety Excellence and Train the Safety Trainer, which are compulsory courses of the BC NSCO designation.

34. Can I work as a safety officer in BC if I have an NCSO from another province?

This depends on the employer’s requirements; however we recommend you complete your BC NCSO to ensure you are aware of legislative requirements and differences.

Faq

Maintenance

35. Are the NCSO™ and NHSA designations renewed automatically?

No. You will need to keep it up‐to‐date by (a) completing six hours of professional development within the three‐year cycle of the certificate (see course list for suggestions), (b) maintaining COR Internal Auditor status including a student audit, and (c) maintaining all required certifications (i.e. first aid and fall protection). Once your NCSO or NHSA expires, you will not be able to renew until you complete all maintenance requirements.

36. How long is my NCSO or NHSA valid for?

Your NCSO designation expires after 3 years. To maintain your designation, you will be required to submit updated copies of any completed certificates that have expired from the date you receive your designation. It is your responsibility to ensure all documents are valid and submitted to remain in good standing.

Thank you and for more information go to the BCCSA website or email ncso@bccsa.ca