Federal Safety Commissioner reveals secrets for successful accreditation

Thursday, 17 March, 2011

The Federal Safety Commissioner, Jeff Willing, recently announced that 50 companies have now progressed through the reaccreditation process, adding: “With this number having undergone reaccreditation, it is timely to note some of the trends my office has observed. These trends should be noted by companies requesting reaccreditation, as well as those entering the process for the first time.”

In both cases, it has been shown that it takes up to six months for companies to meet Scheme requirements. This period includes the entire process, from application submission through to receipt of accreditation certificate. Common factors that influence the time to achieve accreditation include:

Factor Example
Poor or incomplete referencing in application Referring to ‘OHS Manager Position Description’ but failing to label or reference the folio or page number so it can be easily found. Well referenced supporting evidence greatly aids and speeds up the application assessment process
Quality responses to the criteria Written statement clearly explaining senior management role in company’s reporting process (rather than just “see Attachment X”)
Comprehensive, relevant supporting evidence to application questions Incident reporting and investigation procedures including senior management role
Delays in providing details of suitable sites for audit Company does not provide site details to the OFSC so an audit cannot be booked
Lack of building work for accreditation audit Federal Safety Officer (FSO) arrives to conduct an accreditation audit but there is not adequate building work on-site to review the audit criteria or the site workers are on a rostered day off
Company unprepared for on-site audit Company cannot provide FSO with supporting documentation referenced in application and is issued with numerous CARs
Company hasn’t implemented adequate improvements between audits Issues detailed in CARs at first on-site audit have not been rectified or implemented across all building projects, meaning further audit will be required

Most companies need to provide additional information in order to progress through the application assessment. The OFSC then needs to review the availability of FSOs and ensure there is an appropriate site to conduct the audit. It is worth noting that most companies need up to two audits to demonstrate that they meet the requirements of accreditation. While the OFSC will continue to progress applications for accreditation as a priority where deadlines are conveyed, the increase in requests adds to the challenge of meeting contractual deadlines within six months of application.

Priority consideration for accreditation applications:

  • The OFSC has received a growing number of applications from companies in tender processes requesting ‘priority’ status. For priority consideration, it is essential that the company provides full tender details to the OFSC with their initial accreditation application. While the same high standards of the Scheme apply to priority applications, those involved in tenders with pressing deadlines will be given priority.
  •  As FSC, Willing had the following recommendation for companies. “Allow for plenty of time to complete the accreditation process, even if my office has listed you as a priority.”
  •  And in summary, Willing had a couple of closing remarks to help with the accreditation process. “Contact my office if you have any queries. We are here to help companies through the process and there are no ‘silly’ questions. For your application, provide plenty of detail against the focus points, support this with quality evidence and ensure all systems and procedures are well implemented on site for the audit.”
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