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National Construction Safety Officer (NCSO™) Program - Frequently Asked Questions

A downloadable PDF of Frequently Asked Questions is also available from our NCSO™ Resource Materials webpage.

Questions:

  1. Who do I contact for any NCSO™ related inquires?
  2. What is the National Construction Safety Officer (NCSO™) program?
  3. What do I submit with my application?
  4. How long can I expect to wait for my application to be reviewed and processed?
  5. How do I know if my experience will qualify?
  6. I have three (or more) years of safety experience. Does this mean I qualify?
  7. What is my membership status with the NLCSA?
  8. What is the Associate Membership and how do I become an Associate Member?
  9. My employer has agreed to pay for my NCSO™ training fees. Do I have to submit anything additional?
  10. Is there a particular order in which the course requirements must be taken?
  11. When can I register for the NCSO™ Administration course?
  12. I cannot locate any training in my region and/or city. Do you offer training outside of your office locations?
  13. How do I register for the required training?
  14. Do I have to submit training I completed with the NLCSA?
  15. I have completed some of the required training with another training provider. Can I use it?
  16. Do I have to complete all requirements before applying?
  17. I have extensive training in the area of OH&S and/or another relevant area. Can I be exempted from any of the course requirements?
  18. How long does it take to complete the program?
  19. What am I required to do for the practical requirements?
  20. Do the practical requirements have an expiry date?
  21. I am having difficulty locating a company for my practical requirements. What can I do?
  22. Will you accept practical requirements completed as part of a company’s COR™ certification?
  23. A company is due for their annual internal audit. Can I complete an audit for both programs?
  24. Is there an exam?
  25. When can I challenge the exams?
  26. Where can I write the exams?
  27. How do I schedule an appointment to write the exams?
  28. Is there an examination fee?
  29. What can I bring into the exams?
  30. What happens if I fail one (or both) of the exams?
  31. Is there a study guide for the exams?
  32. Does the NCSO™ designation have an expiry date?
  33. Aside from the maintenance requirements, will I have to complete additional requirements if my designation expires?
  34. What is the Construction Safety Officer (CSO) program?
  35. I presently hold a Construction Safety Officer (CSO) designation. How do I receive the NCSO™ designation?
  36. I originally applied under the CSO program but never received the designation. What are my new requirements to become a NCSO™?
  37. What is the 2017 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)?
  38. I have received the NCSO™ designation from another province or territory. How do I obtain the NCSO™ designation from the NLCSA?
  39. How can I prepare for the NCSO™ Provincial Knowledge Exam?
  40. If I receive my NCSO™ designation from the NLCSA, what will my requirements be if I wish to transfer the designation to another province or territory?
  41. Is the NCSO™ designation the same as the Canadian Construction Association’s (CCA’s) Gold Seal Construction Safety Coordinator?



Answers:


1. Who do I contact for any NCSO™ related inquires?

Please contact our Member Services Coordinator at (709) 739-7000 or 1-888-681-SAFE (7233) or by emailing info@nlcsa.com.

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2. What is the National Construction Safety Officer (NCSO™) program?

Designed to develop and/or enhance health and safety training and auditing skills, the NLCSA’s National Construction Safety Officer (NCSO™) program will assist individuals in becoming more marketable in the construction industry. The NCSO™ program is a health and safety designation program specifically for individuals working in the construction industry. The program’s primary goal is to expose the participant to the fundamentals of construction safety management and build upon personal field experience. Persons who achieve the NCSO™ designation will have demonstrated a combination of formal training and a minimum of 3 years of field experience in the construction industry. In achieving the NCSO™ designation, individuals can provide valuable support to employers in the implementation and maintenance of a company’s comprehensive health and safety program. Successful participants can play a key leadership role in effective health and safety management. Individuals who achieved the designation should be able to:

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3. What do I submit with my application?

Submit: the completed application form; payment of the application/examination fee of $125.00 + HST*; a detailed résumé; copies of your Journeyperson certificate (i.e. Certificate of Qualification) in a construction related trade if applicable; reference letters from current and/or previous employers; and any applicable training certificates you completed outside of the NLCSA.

(*Please note that the application/examination fee is non-refundable.)

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4. How long can I expect to wait for my application to be reviewed and processed?

Applicants will be notified within 2-4 weeks of the status of their application.

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5. How do I know if my experience will qualify?

A minimum of three (3) years of construction field experience that has occurred within the last ten (10) years is required to be accepted into the program. Construction field experience is defined as:

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 on a full time basis.

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6. I have three (or more) years of safety experience. Does this mean I qualify?

Not necessarily. While safety experience is certainly an asset, it is not a requirement for acceptance into the program. Construction safety experience may qualify, but safety experience in other industries does not qualify. The NCSO™ program is designed to capitalize on the applicant’s construction field experience.

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7. What is my membership status with the NLCSA?

As an individual you are considered to be a Non‐Member of the NLCSA (even if your employer may have membership status). NCSO™ candidates that have been accepted into the program have the option of applying for the Associate Membership which has an annual fee of $125.00 + HST.

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8. What is the Associate Membership and how do I become an Associate Member?

The Associate Membership is a membership offered by the NLCSA and is offered to companies meeting specific criteria and to NCSO™ candidates who have been accepted into the program. To apply, NCSO™ candidates will be required to submit a completed associate membership application form to the Member Services Coordinator and pay the annual associate membership fee of $125.00 + HST before receiving associate membership benefits and pricing on training courses.

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9. My employer has agreed to pay for my NCSO™ training fees. Do I have to submit anything additional?

Your employer is required to submit a letter or email confirming that the company will be paying for any and/or all of your NCSO™ training and/or fees. A purchase order (PO) will also suffice.

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10. Is there a particular order in which the course requirements must be taken?

The NCSO™ Administration course must be completed last. Other than that, you may complete the course requirements in any order you wish. However, we do recommend for you to complete the 5-day Certificate of Recognition™ (COR™) course first as this course can have a wait list at times, and this training includes pertinent information to assist with completing the practical requirements. It is also important to note that participants of the NLCSA’s Confined Space training must have a valid Fall Protection certificate from an approved provider prior to enrolling in the training session.

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11. When can I register for the NCSO™ Administration course?

NCSO™ Administration is the very last requirement you complete before you are eligible to challenge the national and provincial knowledge examinations. In other words, you will not be permitted to register for this course until it has been verified that all other requirements (including the practical requirements) have been successfully met.

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12. I cannot locate any training in my region and/or city. Do you offer training outside of your office locations?

We offer training in Mount Pearl and Corner Brook throughout the year and periodically in other areas. We can also provide demand training anywhere in the province. For more information visit the training schedule on our website or contact us at (709) 739-7000 or 1-888-681-SAFE (7233) or info@nlcsa.com.

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13. How do I register for the required training?

You can visit the NLCSA’s online training schedule to determine course availability. After you have identified your preferred training dates, you can call our reception desk at (709) 739-7000, 1-888-681-SAFE (7233) or contact the Member Services Coordinator to schedule training. You will receive an email confirmation once your request has been processed. Additionally, you may also submit a written request by completing our Training Request Form and submitting it to us.

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14. Do I have to submit training I completed with the NLCSA?

No—we can check our system to verify any training you completed with us. However, we do recommend that you bring it to our attention.

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15. I have completed some of the required training with another training provider. Can I use it?

Maybe. If you completed training with another training provider in Newfoundland and Labrador, you will be required to submit a copy of the certificate to us for review to determine if it will be accepted or not. If the training in question is one of the programs that have training standards established by WorkplaceNL, any training from another approved provider will be accepted.

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16. Do I have to complete all requirements before applying?

No, you do not have to have all of the requirements met prior to applying—in fact, we recommend that you wait for your application to be approved before registering for any courses or completing any of the requirements.

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17. I have extensive training in the area of OH&S and/or another relevant area. Can I be exempted from any of the course requirements?

Maybe. You will be required to submit copies of your training certification and/or transcript in addition with the course description and/or outline for us to review to determine if it qualifies to be used for equivalency.

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18. How long does it take to complete the program?

This varies for each candidate given their schedule and course availability. However, many candidates complete the program in approximately four (4) months.

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19. What am I required to do for the practical requirements?

NCSO™ candidates are required to complete a jobsite inspection, toolbox presentation, accident/incident investigation, hazard assessment, and a COR™ internal audit with an action plan. The practical requirements must be completed independently and individually (i.e. not as part of a team or committee) and are verified based on the submission of the appropriate documentation. Sample documentation can be found in the NCSO™ Resource Materials section of our website.

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20. Do the practical requirements have an expiry date?

All practical requirements must be completed independently and individually (i.e. not as part of a team or committee) and within the past twelve (12) months to qualify. In addition, practical requirements will expire twelve (12) months from the date they were conducted. As such, when you submit your practical requirements please ensure the date of completion and name of the individual who conducted the document is clearly indicated on all documentation—otherwise, we will request verification of authenticity from management before reviewing submitted material. Please note that an individualized action plan may be developed for candidates who submit two (2) or more practical submissions that are rejected and/or do not meet the standards of the program.

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21. I am having difficulty locating a company for my practical requirements. What can I do?

Sometimes companies will be hesitant in allowing a NCSO™ candidate to conduct their practical requirements because they believe it may influence their COR™ certification. However, any practical requirements completed solely for the NCSO™ program will not influence a company’s COR™ certification. A letter can be provided upon the candidate’s request which will confirm that their practical requirements will not influence a company’s status under the COR™ program. You can also search companies who are involved in the COR™ program on the NLCSA’s website at http://www.nlcsa.com/cor/company-search.php.

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22. Will you accept practical requirements completed as part of a company’s COR™ certification?

Yes, we can refer to the company’s file. However, you must notify us to do so. Please note that all practical requirements must be conducted independently and must have been completed within 12 months of submission to qualify.

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23. A company is due for their annual internal audit. Can I complete an audit for both programs?

If a company is involved in the COR™ program and is due for their annual audit, you may complete the audit for both programs. However, please be advised that in order to do that you will be required to notify the Member Services Coordinator when you submit the audit as it would not otherwise go to the Member Services Coordinator. In addition, you will be required to complete an action plan based on the findings in the audit as part of your NCSO™ practical requirements.

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24. Is there an exam?

Yes—in fact, there are two (2) knowledge examinations you will be required to complete. The first is the national knowledge exam, the second being the provincial knowledge exam. Both exams will be scheduled to be written on the same day. The candidate will be required to complete the national knowledge exam first and will have two (2) hours to challenge the exam. Following the national knowledge exam, the candidate will be granted one (1) hour to complete the provincial knowledge exam. The successful passing mark for both examinations is 75 percent (75%).

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25. When can I challenge the exams?

You may write the exams after you have completed all requirements (compulsory and elective training and practical components). This also includes completion of the NCSO™ Administration course. Upon completing all outstanding requirements the candidate will have twenty-four (24) months to successfully challenge both knowledge examinations. A schedule for the NCSO™ national and provincial knowledge exams is available under the NLCSA’s training schedule on our website.

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26. Where can I write the exams?

The knowledge examinations can be written at the NLCSA Mount Pearl or Corner Brook office locations. If you are located outside of our Mount Pearl and Corner Brook offices, please contact the Member Services Coordinator and the NLCSA will do its best to accommodate for a location that is closest to your residential area.

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27. How do I schedule an appointment to write the exams?

A schedule for the NCSO™ national and provincial knowledge exams is available under the NLCSA’s training schedule on our website. Contact the Member Services Coordinator with the date and location you would like to register for. After your request has been processed, you will be provided with a confirmation to confirm the date and location you have been registered for. Please note that the NLCSA requires two (2) weeks of notice prior to registering for either one of the NCSO™ knowledge examinations.

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28. Is there an examination fee?

There are not any examination fees for first-time candidates as it is included in the application/examination fee. However, there is a $50.00 + HST re-writing fee for either one of the examinations. Additionally, there is a $50.00 + HST renewal application/examination fee for individuals renewing their CSO designation to become NCSO™ and for individuals who are renewing their NCSO™ designation.

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29. What can I bring into the exams?

All of the supplies will be provided for you. As such, electronic devices and textbooks are not permitted in the examination room. You will be required to show proof of a valid Government issued photo identification card (ID) to verify your identity before you can challenge the exams.

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30. What happens if I fail one (or both) of the exams?

If a candidate fails to achieve the passing marks, they must wait ninety (90) days before they can challenge either one of the exams again. The candidate will also be required to pay a re-write fee of $50.00 + HST for one or both examinations. Should an individual fail either knowledge examination three (3) times, they will be required to start the application process all over again.

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31. Is there a study guide for the exams?

A study guide will not be provided as it is expected that a competent NCSO™ candidate will possess the general knowledge that is being evaluated in both examinations. The information being tested would have been gained through previous work experience, as well as participation in formal training throughout the NCSO™ program.

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32. Does the NCSO™ designation have an expiry date?

Yes, the NCSO™ designation expires every three (3) years. More information is available on the NCSO™ Maintenance Requirements web page.

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33. Aside from the maintenance requirements, will I have to complete additional requirements if my designation expires?

This depends on when exactly your designation expired. If it has been over two (2) years we will review your file to determine any additional requirements. Should you choose not to renew the designation, you will no longer be a valid National Construction Safety Officer (NCSO™), and you must cease to use the designation. Continued use beyond expiry would not be sanctioned by the NLCSA and further action may be necessary.

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34. What is the Construction Safety Officer (CSO) program?

Prior to the implementation of the NCSO™ program, in Newfoundland and Labrador the NLCSA offered the Construction Safety Officer (CSO) program. The NCSO™ program is the national safety designation that has been implemented to replace several similar provincial safety designations that were offered by members of the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations (CFCSA).

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35. I presently hold a Construction Safety Officer (CSO) designation. How do I receive the NCSO™ designation?

Individuals who have previously received the CSO designation will have their designation recognized until their three year expiry date. At that time they will be required to: submit a completed NCSO™ renewal application form; pay the renewal application/examination fee of $50.00 + HST; complete the NCSO™ maintenance requirements; and successfully complete the national knowledge exam in order to receive the NCSO™ designation. Additionally, those who have received the CSO designation but did not challenge the CSO general knowledge exam will also be required to successfully challenge the provincial knowledge examination prior to receiving the NCSO™ designation.

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36. I originally applied under the CSO program but never received the designation. What are my new requirements to become a NCSO™?

The OHS Act & Regulations course has now been replaced with the Incident Investigation course as part of the compulsory training requirements. As such, all new applicants are now required to complete the new course requirement and write both national and provincial knowledge examinations. During the phasing period, applicants who originally applied under the CSO program will have the opportunity to choose between completing the OHS Act & Regulations course or the new Incident Investigation course as part of the compulsory requirements. However, as with the new applicants, individuals who originally applied under the CSO program will be required to write both national and provincial knowledge examinations.

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37. What is the 2017 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)?

The 2017 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by members of the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations (CFCSA) This agreement was initiated by a growing interest to create a safety designation that was nationally recognized. As a result of the agreement, the 2017 NCSO™ designation has been implemented by most members of the CFCSA throughout Canada, which have agreed to meet the same recognition requirements to ease the designation’s transferability between provinces and territories.

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38. I have received the NCSO™ designation from another province or territory. How do I obtain the NCSO™ designation from the NLCSA?

An NCSO™ designation that has been issued by a member of the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations (CFCSA) and meets the 2017 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement will be recognized by the NLCSA. You will be required to submit: the equivalency application form; payment of the application fee of $50.00 + HST; and a copy of your NCSO™ certificate issued by another CFCSA member. In addition, you must successfully challenge the NLCSA’s Provincial Knowledge Exam. For more information please visit the NCSO™ Equivalency Requirements web page.

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39. How can I prepare for the NCSO™ Provincial Knowledge Exam?

The Provincial Knowledge Exam is based primarily on requirements specifically related to Newfoundland and Labrador. In order to be successful, the NLCSA strongly encourages you to participate in the following training: Fall Protection (2 days), Confined Space (2 days), OHS Committee Training 2015 (2 days), Early and Safe Return to Work (½ day), Harassment (½ day), and Construction Worker Safety (1 day/also online). Please note that if you are not successful in challenging the exam, you will be required to wait 90 days before you can challenge it again, and you may be required to complete a professional development plan.

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40. If I receive my NCSO™ designation from the NLCSA, what will my requirements be if I wish to transfer the designation to another province or territory?

Members of the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations (CFCSA) who signed the 2017 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement have all agreed to recognize an NCSO™ designation issued by another province and/or territory and may require individuals to challenge a provincial or territorial supplement knowledge exam to receive it in their province or territory. To transfer your designation to another province or territory, you will be required to contact the provincial or territorial construction safety association to begin the process and challenge their provincial or territorial supplement exam (if required).

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41. Is the NCSO™ designation the same as the Canadian Construction Association’s (CCA’s) Gold Seal Construction Safety Coordinator?

No, they are two separate designations. However, any individual who possesses an NCSO™ and can demonstrate 5 years of construction site safety experience (in accordance with the CCA’s guidelines), would be automatically eligible to challenge the Gold Seal national exam. He/she would still have to complete the CCA’s application process. For more information, visit the Canadian Construction Association’s Gold Seal certification webpage.

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