Every year, there are more and more training courses offered to safety professionals in Canada. All those options can be overwhelming, especially to those who want to break into the business or have been asked to take on a safety role at their current workplace.

To help you sort through the options, we've put together a list of some of the best training courses for Canadian safety professionals.

Certifications, Designations, and Training Courses: Are They the Same?

Before we go over your choices, let's clearly define what we mean by a training course.

Certification

Certifications are qualifications offered by safety practitioner organizations that specify minimum formal education, qualifications, and practical experience.

Certifications often require certification maintenance in the form of continuing education.

Perhaps the most common example of a safety certification in Canada is the Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP).

Designation

Designations are qualifications offered by industries or safety associations. They are earned by completing a series of courses.

The Health and Safety Practitioner (HSP) designation, for example, has a program of training and other requirements that must be completed in order to use the designation.

Designations often don’t require formal education or certification maintenance, and they are not independently accredited.

Training Course

Training courses are stand-alone sessions that can range from a few hours to several days in length.

These courses are designed to enhance knowledge and understanding, and participants do not receive any certification or designation from them. Training courses may, however, form part of a designation program.

In this article, we're focusing specifically on training courses.

(For related reading, check out The Best Sources for Canadian Safety Information.)

6 Courses Every Canadian Safety Professional Should Consider Taking

1. Certification Part One

The first of a two-step training process for Joint Health and Safety Committee members, this three-day course offers participants an understanding of the fundamentals of workplace health and safety and how to apply them.

Topics include:

  • Duties and responsibilities of employers, supervisors, and workers
  • Hazard recognition, assessment, control, and evaluation
  • Conducting effective inspections
  • Reporting workplace injuries
  • Locating and using health and safety resources
  • Industry-specific training is also available for agriculture, manufacturing, offices, and the service sector

This course is recommended for:

  • New and existing Joint Health and Safety Committee members
  • Managers, supervisors, and health and safety representatives who want to expand their knowledge
  • Health and safety professionals from workplaces with 20 or more employees (all industries)

2. Safety Program Development

A two-day course offered by the Continuing Care Safety Association, this program is intended to enhance the knowledge and skills of those responsible for developing and maintaining an occupational health and safety program.

Topics include:

  • The benefits and elements of an effective OHS program
  • Injury reduction
  • Building a continuous improvement process for your program

This course is recommended for:

  • Health and safety program managers

3. Building an MSD Prevention Program

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common type of workplace injury, and many of them are preventable with better workplace design and work practices.

This course trains participants to identify, assess, and control MSD hazards using industry best practices. The end result is the creation of draft standards and framework to allow for the successful development and implementation of an MSD prevention program (learn about the Risk Factors for Developing Musculoskeletal Disorders).

This course is recommended for:

  • Managers and supervisors
  • Health and safety committee members
  • Human resources and safety professionals

4. Managing Hazards & Risks

Workplace accidents can be costly for workers and businesses alike, and the best way to reduce the likelihood of an incident occurring is good risk management. This course explains the principles of hazard and risk management and gives participants a process and tool for implementing it in their own context.

Topics include:

  • Defining and categorizing hazards
  • The value of managing hazards
  • The Recognize-Assess-Control-Evaluate (RACE) model
  • Using the Hazard Management Tool

This course is recommended for:

  • Risk management professionals
  • Health and safety managers
  • Supervisors

5. Workplace Mental Health – Raising Awareness

Mental health is increasingly being recognized as an integral part of an effective health and safety program, as poor mental health can impact everything from productivity to morale.

This session focuses on 13 workplace factors outlined in the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace and helps participants understand the positive and negative elements that impact employee mental health in their organization (find out How to Reduce and Manage Workplace Stress).

This course is recommended for:

  • Health and safety managers
  • Supervisors
  • OHS program developers

6. Hiring Outside Contractors

These days, temporary or contract employees are a common sight in workplaces – but understanding how health and safety responsibilities relate to outside contractors can be difficult.

The course helps participants understand the legislation related to hiring contractors, identify key definitions and steps involved with contractor recruitment, determine the documentation and training requirements, and apply this knowledge to common scenarios.

This course is recommended for:

  • Health and safety managers
  • HR managers
  • Supervisors
  • Health and safety coordinators
  • Other personnel responsible for hiring and/or training contractors

Final Thoughts

As with most professions, ongoing training is critical for maintaining a safe, healthy workplace. And the courses we’ve identified above are just a starting point. Between the Canadian Safety Council, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services, and Continuing Care Safety Association, there are hundreds of different training programs to meet the needs of businesses in all industries.

The best thing you can do is not get too hung up and focused on finding the perfect course, but to continue learning and improving.

So, which course will you be taking next?