Safety Best Practices

The Best Way to Conduct COR Audits

Emily Lundh @Emily
Safety & Compliance
0 min read
December 12, 2023

Attaining a Certificate of Recognition (COR) signifies a dedication to exceptional safety standards, ensuring workplaces are secure and compliant. If you are a construction company in Canada, COR is likely something you either have or are day dreaming of qualifying for. Being COR certified quickly and effectively tells other companies and general contractors that your company is committed to safety, you mitigate risk well, and you invest in employee training. Completing a COR audit is not a quick process, it requires a lot of time and effort from your staff. Let’s delve into the critical steps and insights on conducting effective COR audits. This guide will walk you through tips and tricks to keep in mind for an easier COR audit.

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Understanding COR Audits

COR audits are comprehensive assessments that benchmark safety practices against stringent criteria. Key elements include:

Safety Policies

Clear, comprehensive safety policies are the backbone of a robust safety program. You can enhance them by implementing regulatory alignment. Ensure policies comply with industry regulations and standards. Regularly review these policies to guarantee alignment with evolving regulatory changes.

Tip: Hold periodic training sessions or workshops to familiarize employees with policy updates and ensure their understanding.

Risk Assessment

Identifying and mitigating potential hazards is fundamental. Regularly conduct thorough risk assessments, involve employees in hazard identification, and prioritize mitigation strategies. Strengthen your risk assessment procedures by doing thorough assessments. Conduct comprehensive and regular risk assessments that encompass all potential hazards across various operations and job sites. Involve employees in hazard identification processes.

Best Practice: Implement a hazard reporting system that encourages employees to report risks promptly and anonymously if necessary. Establish clear guidelines on how to report hazards and ensure prompt follow-up on reported issues.

Safety Equipment and Procedures

Proper maintenance and usage of safety equipment are pivotal. Elevate your approach to safety equipment and procedures with equipment maintenance and comprehensive training. Ensure regular inspections and maintenance schedules for safety equipment. Implement a system that tracks maintenance and checks for compliance with manufacturer recommendations. Provide in-depth training sessions on safety equipment usage, emphasizing correct handling and emergency procedures. Regularly refresh this training to keep employees up-to-date with best practices.

Recommendation: Create visual aids or interactive modules to supplement training sessions, aiding employees in better understanding safety procedures and equipment usage.

By enhancing safety policies to reflect industry standards, implementing a robust hazard reporting system, and prioritizing thorough risk assessments along with comprehensive equipment training and maintenance, companies can significantly bolster their safety protocols in the construction industry. This can easily be done by partnering with a safety software provider. Companies like SALUS offer robust programs designed to make COR audits simple. SALUS even has a direct and exclusive partnership with AuditSoft, a auditing software.

We had our first core, external audit this year using SALUS and it was fantastic. We met our requirements and were able to do a more thorough and quick job - finding documents with ease! It saved us time and hassle by being able to find things with just a few clicks
Jamie Fraser, HSE Manager from Giusti Group

Preparing for a COR Audit

Many safety managers dread the time of year their COR audits are due. It’s a time consuming and meticulous process, so we can’t blame you! Here are some ways you can purposely prepare for a COR audit and make the process a little smoother.

Mock Audits and Readiness Checks

Simulate Real Audits: Conduct mock audits regularly to assess preparedness and identify areas for improvement. These simulations help employees understand the audit process, reducing anxiety during an actual safety audit report.

Evaluate Readiness: Assess the organization’s readiness for the audit by reviewing past internal audits, corrective action logs, and compliance records.

Communication and Employee Engagement

Communicate Expectations: Clearly communicate the purpose and expectations of the COR audit to all employees. Encourage their involvement and cooperation to ensure a smooth process.

Employee Training: Offer specialized training to employees who will be involved in the audit process. This training should focus on their roles, responsibilities, and the specific requirements of the audit.

Process Review and Improvement:

Review Procedures: Conduct a comprehensive review of existing processes and procedures. Identify any gaps or inconsistencies that could affect compliance during the audit.

Continuous Improvement: Implement a culture of continual improvement. Encourage employees to provide suggestions and feedback for process enhancement.

Audit Preparation Documentation:

Checklist Creation: Develop a detailed safety audit checklist based on COR audit criteria. This checklist should cover all aspects to be evaluated during the audit.

Documentation Organization: Ensure all necessary documentation is readily accessible and well-organized. Use software tools for efficient document management to streamline access and retrieval.

External Assistance and Collaboration:

Engage Consultants if Necessary: Consider hiring external consultants to conduct pre-audit assessments. Their fresh perspective and expertise can uncover blind spots or overlooked areas.

Collaborate Internally: Foster collaboration among departments to ensure a unified approach to meeting audit requirements. Encourage cross-departmental communication and cooperation.

Risk Mitigation Planning:

Pre-Audit Risk Mitigation: Identify potential risks or compliance issues that could arise during the audit. Develop contingency plans or corrective actions to address these proactively.

Post-Audit Preparation: Outline steps for post-audit actions based on potential audit outcomes. Prepare for immediate action on identified deficiencies.

Implementing Effective Safety Measures

As a safety manager, you know all about implementing effective safety measures. There are tons of resources out there with inspirational content on coming up with new and engaging ways to get your field staff up to safety-code. We’ve compiled just a few directions you can take to support you as you implement effective safety measures.

Safety Culture and Policies

Foster a strong safety culture by encouraging open communication, rewarding safety-conscious behaviour, and involving employees in safety initiatives.

Recommendation: Establish a safety committee comprising employees from various departments to oversee safety implementation and improvements.

Risk Assessment and Hazard Identification

Conduct regular, detailed risk assessments and encourage hazard reporting from employees at all levels.

Best Practice: Utilize a risk assessment matrix to prioritize and address identified risks based on severity and likelihood.

Safety Equipment and Procedures

Regularly train employees on proper equipment usage and maintenance. Implement checks to ensure SOPs are followed consistently.

Tip: Use safety software to schedule and track equipment inspections and maintenance, ensuring compliance and timely action.

Conducting the Audit

This is where the magic happens—where we showcase our commitment to safety excellence and compliance in the construction world. You’ve worked hard all year for this. The culmination of meticulous preparation and dedicated efforts, the COR audit stands as a pivotal checkpoint in affirming a construction company’s commitment to safety excellence. Conducting the audit requires a strategic approach, collaboration, and adherence to established protocols. This phase encompasses several essential steps, from auditor selection to on-site evaluations and communication. Let’s explore it!

Auditor Selection and Preparation

Qualified Auditor Selection: Collaborate with certified auditors experienced in construction safety. Ensure they possess a thorough understanding of your specific operations and safety practices.

TIP: Engage in preliminary meetings with auditors to align expectations and clarify the audit process.

Auditor Training and Briefing: Provide auditors with a detailed briefing on your company’s operations, safety policies, and any specific areas of concern. Ensure they are adequately prepared to conduct a thorough audit.

Audit Process Overview

Structured Approach: Ensure the audit follows a structured approach covering all aspects of safety policies, practices, and documentation. Use a checklist based on COR audit criteria to maintain consistency and thoroughness.

Best Practice: Utilize software-based checklists to streamline the audit process and facilitate easy tracking of audit progress.

Employee Interviews and Observation: Auditors may conduct interviews and observe workplace practices to assess the actual implementation of safety protocols. Encourage employees to participate actively and honestly.

Document Review and Compliance Check

Document Verification: Auditors will review documentation related to safety policies, training records, incident reports, and more. Ensure these documents are readily accessible and accurately represent safety practices.

Compliance Assessment: Auditors will assess the organization’s compliance with safety regulations and industry best practices. Ensure full cooperation and transparency during this process.

On-Site Inspections and Observations

Physical Site Evaluation: Auditors may conduct on-site inspections to evaluate workplace conditions, safety equipment usage, and adherence to SOPs. Address any immediate safety concerns identified during these inspections.
Interactive Walkthroughs: Collaborate with auditors to conduct walkthroughs of key areas, allowing them to observe safety practices in action and ask questions for clarification.

Communication and Clarification

Open Communication: Encourage open communication between auditors and employees. Ensure employees understand the purpose of the audit and are comfortable providing necessary information.

Clarify Doubts: Address any queries or doubts raised by auditors promptly. Provide factual and accurate information to facilitate a smooth audit process.

Preliminary Findings and Feedback

Preliminary Results: After the audit, receive and review preliminary findings from auditors. Identify immediate corrective actions if necessary.

Feedback Session: Conduct a feedback session with auditors to gain insights into areas of improvement. Use this information to enhance safety practices and prepare for future audits.

By meticulously preparing for auditors, ensuring a structured audit process, facilitating document accessibility, conducting thorough inspections, fostering open communication, and leveraging audit feedback for continuous improvement, companies can navigate the COR audit process more effectively, ensuring compliance and a safer work environment.

It may seem like a significant investment initially, but we saved the whole platform’s cost in printing alone
Jenny Buck, Executive Assistant @ Stampede Electric

Post-Audit Actions

The curtain falls on the COR audit, but the show must go on! The real magic happens after the audit, where we transform insights into actions, deficiencies into opportunities, and compliance into a continuous journey of safety excellence. Welcome to the post-audit phase—the time for swift action, continuous improvement, and the pursuit of an even safer workplace. Let’s delve into the strategies and steps that turn audit findings into catalysts for safety triumphs!

Addressing Identified Gaps or Issues: Prioritize and swiftly address identified deficiencies. Implement corrective actions and track them diligently.

Tip: Categorize corrective actions by urgency and impact to prioritize effectively.

Continuous Improvement: Establish a culture of continuous improvement by analyzing audit outcomes and implementing enhancements. You can also ask safety consultants in your area for help when you have COR audit questions.

Best Practice: Conduct regular reviews of safety practices, involve employees in improvement discussions, and celebrate safety milestones to encourage engagement.

Achieving COR certification demands meticulous preparation, strict adherence to safety measures, and an unwavering commitment to continuous improvement. Our construction safety software stands as a robust tool, aiding companies in streamlining processes, ensuring compliance, and fostering a culture of safety excellence.


Safety software is a game-changer for audits in construction. It saves time, keeps everything organized, ensures compliance, and helps build a safety-first mindset.

A smooth audit starts with proper safety documentation, all year round. That’s why AuditSoft and SALUS have joined forces to create an integration for a seamless, user-friendly, and expedited audit experience.

With the Auditsoft and SALUS integration you can track and manage all your safety documentation from a single dashboard, gain visibility into compliance gaps, and more.

See Salus in Action

Book a personal demo and get answers to your unique questions and see how Salus helps simplify safety.