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Keeping up with changes to professional competencies

The BCRSP recently revised the Examination Blueprint and the new version has been posted to the Examinations section of the board's website ( This document will be used by the Certification and Examination Committee when it drafts the 2011 examinations.??

Revised Blueprint for Examination

The revised CRSP Examination Blueprint was based on data collected from the 2010 Survey on the Competencies Required of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals.??Following are changes to the domains (bracketed numbers are from 2005). For this article, I have rearranged the domains into the order of importance based on the percentage given to the domains in the CRSP Examination Blueprint: (CRSPEX).

Safety Techniques and Technology

18-22% (20­-24%)

Occupational Hygiene

12-16% (13-17%)

OHS&E Management Systems

12-16% (14-18%)

Law and Ethics

10-14% (10-14%)

HSE Auditing

6-10% (5-7%)

Fire Prevention and Protection

6-10% (7-11%)

Health and Wellness (formerly Health Promotion*)

5-7% (3-5%)


4-8% (4-8%)

Risk Management  

4-8% (2-4%)

Environmental Practices   

3-5% (2-4%)

Accident Theory

2-4% (3-5%)

*The Health Promotion study guide has been renamed Health and Wellness.

Equally important to the changes in levels of importance of the Domains of CRSP practice is the increase of specific competencies within the domains. Note that the competencies in the altered domains have increased from 124 to 147.

A few examples of these new competencies are in areas of heavy vehicle safety, laboratory safety, nanotechnology, biohazards (e.g. H1N1, anthrax), quality standards such as ISO 9000, CSA Z1000, OHSAS 18001 and a new focus on health and wellness.

The new Health and Wellness domain (formerly Health Promotion) includes important subjects such as disability management, addiction control programs, violence in the workplace prevention, shift work effects and psychosocial work environment influences.

Trends in education and practice
The recent changes are part of a larger trend to increase the competency of CRSPs, including the required formal education of CRSP candidates. As of January 1, 2009, CRSP applicants must have successfully completed at least one year of college or university certificate or diploma program in occupational health, safety or environment (OHSE), or a two-year college or university non-occupational health, safety or environment certificate or diploma program.

It is apparent from the CRSPs surveyed in 2010 about their current practice (I was one of those who participated) that there is a distinct focus on the top five areas of knowledge and importance in their daily work — Safety Technology, Occupational Hygiene, OHS&E Management Systems, Law & Ethics and HSE Auditing. Both the art and science of OHS management are extremely important in their daily activity levels.

Although there are no real surprises in this list, it does speak to the areas that practicing OHS practitioners and professionals should focus their ongoing competency and education on.

Certification Maintenance Program (CMP)
If you are currently a CRSP or planning to take the examination, it’s extremely important to commit to your ongoing competency. The BCRSP’s CMP is designed to ensure certified CRSPs maintain their competencies and knowledge by their ongoing involvement in the professional activities and continuing education.

When choosing activities to keep abreast of the OHS management advancements, it is important to choose activities that have requested evaluation from the BCRSP and meet their criteria for CMP points. Conferences and continued education courses at universities and colleges typically meet that criteria. In addition, many professional conferences will meet the BCRSP’s criteria and will usually advertise this fact in there conference registration materials. If in doubt about the activity, check with the BCRSP.

As always, the development and enhancement of the CRSP profession and the evolution of our health and safety knowledge as practitioners in this ever changing world is essential. If we are to be successful in creating safe and healthy work environments for our fellow workers, we need to be as informed and educated about the changing challenges and solutions as possible.

Alan D. Quilley is the president of Safety Results Ltd., and OHS consulting company in Sherwood Park, Alta. Contact him at

Alan D. Quilley, CRSP

Alan D. Quilley is the author of “The Emperor Has No Hard Hat — Achieving REAL Safety Results” and the President of Safety Results Ltd. a Sherwood Park Alberta OH&S Consulting Company. Visit for more information.
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