Why an NCSO adds value to the worksite

Designation is a 'stepping stone' into the construction safety field

Why an NCSO adds value to the worksite

There are a lot of acronyms floating around in the health and safety sector. From CRSP to CRST, there are a range of certifications offered to OHS professionals to help improve their skills and enhance their credibility (and set them apart from others).

For those in the construction sector, the National Construction Safety Officer (NCSO) designation can be valuable for both the employer and the health and safety practitioner. Those recognised as an NCSO bring both personal field experience as well as practical safety knowledge gleaned from the program.

Jessica McCaughey says that the NCSO designation was her “stepping stone” into the sector. McCaughey is Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) Shared Services, at construction services company Bird Construction.

She says that for those wishing to get trained on worksite safety, this is the designation that every safety professional in that field looks to. Participants are trained on legislation and compliance-based knowledge, how to facilitate training, how to engage with their team, how to conduct toolbox meetings, how to do orientation, etc.

“To me, it was really a boots on the ground training that would enable myself and others to be successful in that kind of work environment directly related to construction,” says McCaughey.

Read more: What is a CRST? And why it could be for you

There are a number of organizations which administer the program depending on which province or territory the participant is located in. The Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA) is one, the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA) is another. Those who receive their certification through IHSA are qualified to serve as Certificate of Recognition (COR) Internal Auditors and Construction Health & Safety Representatives.

“The NCSO designation meets the national standard requirements and verifies that a person has met the training, practical application, years of experience and written performance measurements set out by the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations (CFCSA),” says the Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association (SCSA).

For those aiming to pursue the designation, having some years of field experience before training as an NCSO is a must.

“Persons who achieve the NCSO designation will possess a combination of three years of practical construction field experience, as well as practical and theoretical knowledge in various health and safety management skills and principles,” explains the BC Construction Safety Alliance (BCCSA).

Those wishing to learn more about the NCSO designation should get in touch with their provincial/territorial construction safety organization (e.g. the Construction Safety Association of Manitoba or the Northern Safety Association in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut).