Getting to the COR for safety

Participation in prevention programhas financial benefits along with risk reduction.

By Judie Steeves A

griculture is actually one of the most dangerous industries in the province, advises Carol Reid, the Okanagan’s AgSafeBC consultant, who specializes in orchard and vineyard safety. And that’s one of the reasons the Certificate of Recognition (COR) program was created recently to reward agricultural employers who successfully pass a series of audits attesting to achievement of a high standard in health and safety. So far, the only Okanagan orchard or vineyard which has achieved the COR is Tony DiMaria Orchards in Lake Country, notes Reid. As a small employer, Antonio DeMaria was trained by AgSafe to become an auditor for the COR audit, explains Reid. He was also the key person for filling in the gaps in Tony DiMaria’s health and safety program. She says Antonio found the process very doable and learned a significant amount about all aspects of a health and safety program.

The DiMaria family found the program ensured their efforts meet legislated requirements and that everything is done to ensure workers have a safe place to work. As well, they found that the financial rebate helps offset the investment of time needed to pull portions of the program together. It also made sure the program is well-documented in case of a tragic event on the farm in future, she added.

It’s a program for both large and small employers, with the reward an incentive payment from WorkSafeBC, in addition to a reduction in Workers’ Compensation Board costs, due to their safety records.

Eligible employers with a COR can receive a 10 per cent incentive rebate on their annual premium by having a

22 British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Spring 2017

found employees are proud to succeed in achieving the COR, as well as employers. The program is just an extension of an existing health and safety program, which ensures workers and workplaces are safe from injury, illness and disease, and it costs nothing.

It is based on a solid workplace safety program including documentation of different practices, interviews with

workers and both self- audits and external audits.

The employer must hold monthly safety meetings at the

minimum, and they’re directed to correct any unsafe conditions and control hazards.

AgSafeBC consultant Carol Reid, who specializes in orchard and vineyard safety.

functioning health and safety program in place.

Certification is valid for three years, with annual maintenance audits conducted to keep it valid. There are modified audit standards for small employers and audit training for employees. Reid told a group of industry professionals in January that she’s

Tractors and ladders are two of the most common safety concerns in the Okanagan, she notes.

Workers must be properly trained and complete an orientation; premises and equipment must be inspected and safe work procedures put into practice.

AgSafeBC will help the farmer through the process, she says. For details of the program, go to: or contact Reid at 250- 215-5293.

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