New COR® standard FAQs

Q. Who is affected by these changes?
A. All COR® certified companies who all in the following classifications: Small Business, Intermediate Business, Standard Business, as well as any companies applying for COR® that fall within those categories.

Q. I’m an owner/operator. Do I need to do anything differently?
A. No. Nothing is different for owner/operators. You will stay on the same audit tool and process that you are currently using.

Q. What questions are new?
A. Click here for the complete list of new questions organized by section.

Q. What evidence is required to satisfy the new requirements?
A. The following evidence is required:

  • Are design and layout of the work area, ergonomics, machinery, and processes considered in the assessments? (Hazard assessments which include an assessment of design and layout of work areas, ergonomics, machinery and processes.)
  • Is there a method for the selection of safety and health training of employees? (Policy/procedure/guideline which includes a method for selecting training of employees.)
  • Have the emergency procedures and response plans been reviewed, and revised as appropriate, at least annually? (Records showing that the company’s emergency response directives/plans have been reviewed annually. The records must indicate the results of the review and what corrective actions were taken (or reasons for no action being taken) to correct identified deficiencies.)
  • Is there a system in place to coordinate safety and health requirements, roles, and responsibilities when multiple contractors/employers are working under your control? (Project plans; completed hazard assessments, inspections, site safety orientations, toolbox/safety/start-up meeting minutes, utility clearances, permits, SDSs, incident investigation reports, etc. )
  • Does the company have criteria for the selection, evaluation, and procurement of products that have the potential to create a hazard? (Hazard assessments/analysis for the products which may be purchased.)

Q. Is it really difficult to meet the new standard requirements?
A. Evidence required to meet the Harmonized COR® Standard (2020) remains largely unchanged. Many companies have already developed and implemented the policies, practices and procedures required by the new COR® Standard.

Q. Do I need to re-do any of the COR® training that I have already completed?
A. No, if you already have completed the COR® training prior to the new standard coming out you will not have to re-do any of the training. For anyone that requires the COR® training after the new standard is released, they will need to take the new updated version of the COR® Evaluation course, which will be virtual instructor-lead training.

Q. When do I have to make the change over to this new standard?
You will have the option of a one-time choice in 2023 of using old audit tool or the new audit tool. OHS Advisors will contact you in advance of your 2023 audit to discuss options and help you prepare. Starting Jan. 1, 2024, all audits will be required to use the new COR®  standard and audit tool. CSNS is here to support you in this transition and ensure you feel well prepared for the changes.

Q. What is the format of the new audit tool?
A. It will be available in multiple formats including traditional paper booklet, fillable pdf and our new digital e-audit instrument provided by AuditSoft.

Q. Can you tell me more about the digital audit tool?
A. CSNS is pleased to partner with AuditSoft to offer our members a digital option for completing their internal COR® audits. As of Sept. 1, 2023, all CSNS OHS Advisors will be using AuditSoft to conduct all external COR® audits, and members will be able to select the AuditSoft tool for their internal audits, if they so choose. If you are interested in using AuditSoft for your next audit, please contact CSNS at 1-800-971-3888 or (Please note that both a paper-based and fillable pdf version will still be available to our members.)

Benefits of AuditSoft digital COR® audit tool*:

  • No more paper: Say goodbye to paper forms & spreadsheets. With AuditSoft the whole audit process and workflow is digital. Evidence is gathered, assessed and findings documented all in one single easy to use application.
  • Support at your fingertips:  Each step in the audit is supported with clear and easy to follow guidelines, instruction, and auditor tips. No more guessing of what to do or look for. Even example interview questions are provided.
  • Simple uploading of evidence: Evidence of supporting documentation, pictures to capture observations and proof of implementation and interviews can be uploaded and capture straight into the application.
  • Automated calculations: No more manual tallying of interview results, scoring and calculating averages or data re-entry. All calculations are automated to save you time and remove potential errors.
  • No more wasted report writing time: Once you have uploaded your evidence, completed your assessment, and documented your findings a professionally indexed and formatted audit report is generated immediately with a click of a button. This includes links to supporting documents referenced within the report.
  • Continuous improvement: Once you have completed the audit all corrective actions and suggestions for improvements identified can be exported into a Corrective Action Report/Plan with a simple click of a button. This will drive continuous improvement, mitigate identified risks; and close the loop on the audit.
  • Electronic submission & tracking: Submit your audit electronically, track your auditing progress and get notifications on missed sections. No more emailing back and forth or calls required.
  • Access to your own COR® ScoreCard: Once your COR® Audit is approved by your association, you have access to AuditXchange which allows you to assess your performance against your peers, track year-on-year improvement, identify strengths and opportunities for improvement, use generated graphs in appropriate OHS sustainability reporting and share with relevant stakeholders to promote transparency of your OHS performance.

*Source: AuditSoft

Q. Will there be changes needed to my safety manual?
A. No major changes will be required to the structure and content of your safety program, but you will need to add and revise some elements to match the new standard’s requirements.

Q. How does this impact my internal audits?
A. Your internal auditor will need to have the required knowledge and skill to complete the new COR® Evaluation instrument. By the end of the summer, a new version of the course will be available should they wish to take it. Please note the overall process, mailout schedule, sending your completed forms back in to us will all remain the same — the only difference is the audit instrument itself but the process is the same.

Q. Is my COR® going to be in jeopardy if I don’t meet all the new requirements?
A. CSNS wants you to succeed in this transition. Our OHS Advisors and Administrators will help you understand the new requirements and what you need to do to meet them. If corrective actions result from your audit, we will work with you to implement the required changes within reasonable timelines so that your COR® standing is not affected.

Q. Can I just stick with the old standard instead?
A. For companies that expire prior to Dec. 31, 2023 you can use the old audit tool to complete your audit. Starting Jan. 1, 2024, all audits are required to use the new COR® standard and audit tool. CSNS is here to support you in this transition and ensure you are prepared for the changes.

Q. I don’t understand the changes and I need help revising my safety manual to meet the new standard, can CSNS help with that?
A. Yes, we have OHS Advisors and administrators on staff to help support your company through the transition process and be set up for success.

Q. How has the scoring method changed?
A. See below methods for scoring:

  • All boxes under the techniques D (documentation), O (observation), and I (interview) MUST include a (√) or (x).
  • Ensure ALL questions that have been confirmed with a (√) under the documentation technique have a supporting document immediately following the audit instrument section page.
  • Write the audit question number directly onto the supporting document that, at a glance, clearly identifies where the intent of the documentation question has been met.
  • Refer to the audit instrument guidelines for clarification on how to interpret each question and award points.
  • Where a question is worth four (4) or more points, consult the guidelines on how points should be allocated. Where no specific instructions are given, positive response (√) equals full points, negative response (x) equals zero (0) points.

Q. What terminology has changed?
A. See below for a listing of definitions outlined for the new COR® standard (Note: the new COR® audit tool contains a glossary of terms for reference):

  • Comprehensive Hazard Assessment is now referred to as Formal Hazard Assessment.
  • New Employee: means an employee who is (a) new to a position or place of employment, (b) returning to a position or place of employment in which the hazards have changed during the employee’s absence, (c) under 25 years of age and returning to a position or place of employment after an absence of more than six months, or (d) affected by a change in the hazards of a position or place of employment.
  • Leading Indicators: allow you to take preventive action to address that failure or hazard before it turns into an incident. Examples: The root causes of near misses, the percentage of inspections or behavior-based safety observations completed at a location, and training attendance and pass rates.
  • Lagging Indicators: can alert you to a failure in an area of your safety and health program or to the existence of a hazard, leading indicators. Examples: injury frequency and severity, lost workdays, incidents and near misses, and. workers’ compensation costs.
  • Return to Work: The audit must verify that the employer has a defined return-to-work policy that is right for the size, industry, and location of the business.