2019 PIR Requirements

Partnerships in Injury Reduction is a voluntary program in which employer and worker representatives work collaboratively with government to build effective health and safety management systems. By improving health and safety, the social and financial costs of workplace injury and illness are reduced. (Government of Alberta, 2019)

2019 PROGRAM INFORMATION

The Alberta Municipal Health and Safety Association (AMHSA), Alberta Labour – Partnerships, and the Workers’ Compensation Board - Alberta (WCB) are committed to helping municipalities and employees reduce loss caused by workplace injuries and illness through an initiative called Partnerships in Injury Reduction (PIR).

Why enroll in PIR?

By joining PIR and developing effective workplace health and safety management systems, you can earn up to a 20 per cent refund on your industry-rated premiums.

PIR encourages employers to develop health, safety and disability management systems.

Benefits of succeeding in PIR may include:

  • minimized accident costs (direct and indirect)
  • improved worker productivity
  • improved employee well being and job satisfaction
  • lower WCB premiums

PIR is a voluntary program that promotes effective health and safety management systems as an integral part of conducting successful day-to-day operations. Participating municipalities, whether large or small, rural or urban, benefit from working together to protect their workers. Workers benefit from fewer injuries and illnesses, improved workplace health and safety, and an early, safe return to employment after injury.

PIR offers participating municipalities the opportunity to earn a financial incentive from the WCB each calendar year. This incentive is a premium rebate of 5-20% given only to municipalities who hold a Certificate of Recognition (COR).

The following information is applicable to employers with 11 or more employees, considered by PIR to be “large employers”. Information about the Small Employer Certificate of Recognition (SECOR) which applies to employers with 10 or fewer employees is also available from AMHSA.


For information on SECOR requirements, click here.

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

AMHSA requires participating employers to provide the following training to someone on staff, in order to be eligible to have a COR:

  • Successful completion of Health and Safety Management Systems (AMHSA)
  • Successful completion of Health and Safety Auditing (AMHSA), and
  • Return to Work (available free of charge from WCB-Alberta, visit www.wcb.ab.ca)
    • Please contact AMHSA with proof of training so our records can be kept up-to-date.

The COR process involves a 3-year cycle:

  • In year 1 of the program cycle, the employer attains a COR by:
    • Passing a COR Certification audit conducted by an auditor external to the employer
    • Developing an internal post-audit action plan which sets goals and objectives for the next year based on the audit results
  • In year 2 of the program cyclethe employer maintains its COR and improves its program by:
    • Conducting a COR Maintenance audit to ensure the program is functioning well.
    • Developing an internal post-audit action plan which sets goals and objectives for the next year based on the audit results
  • In year 3 of the program cyclethe employer maintains its COR and improves its program by:
    • Conducting a COR Maintenance audit to ensure the program is functioning well
    • Developing an internal post-audit action plan which sets goals and objectives for the next year based on the audit results

AMHSA also offers the option to conduct an Action Plan in Lieu of a COR Maintenance Audit in specific circumstances. Contact us for more information.

PARTNERS’ ROLES

Participating employers develop, implement, and maintain effective health and safety management systems. To be eligible for the financial incentive, they must successfully complete a program audit each year to obtain or maintain a COR. In addition, they must comply with the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulation and Code.

The Alberta Municipal Health and Safety Association (AMHSAprovides training, advice, and assistance in health and safety program development, and training and certification of auditors. AMHSA administers the PIR audit process for participating municipalities and conducts quality assurance reviews on all audits.

Alberta Labour – Partnerships establishes the PIR standards that all participants must follow, and issues (jointly with AMHSA) the COR to successful municipalities. Partnerships conducts quality assurance audits on certifying partners like AMHSA to ensure we adhere to the PIR standards.

The Workers’ Compensation Board – Alberta offers the financial incentive in the form of rebates to successful municipalities. Regular process reports are provided by the WCB.

PROGRAM REGISTRATION AND PARTICIPATION

Participation in the program is voluntary, and open to any employer. AMHSA is the designated Certifying Partner for employers in the following WCB industry codes:

  • 95100 – villages
  • 95101 – towns
  • 95102 – municipal districts and counties
  • 95104 – cities (including specialized municipalities)

The WCB manages the program registration of all employers. Registration is renewed automatically on an annual basis unless the employer notifies the WCB of its desire to withdraw. Employers can withdraw from PIR at any time. An employer that achieves a new COR without first registering in the PIR program will automatically be registered for the following year.

For further information about registering or withdrawing from the PIR program, contact WCB at 780.498.936.

FINANCIAL INCENTIVE (INDUSTRY RATE PREMIUM DISCOUNT)

Premium rebates for COR-holders range from 5% for maintaining organizations, to 10% for first time recipients, to 20% for improvement and industry leadership. Employers who have obtained their COR may increase their rebates by:

  1. Improving Performance: This incentive is based on improvements in claims costs in the participating year compared to previous years. Discounts of up to 20% off WCB premiums are available, depending on the level of improvement.
  2. Maintaining Industry Leadership: Municipalities with claims costs at least 50% better than the industry average for 2 consecutive years are eligible for incentives of up to 20% off premiums.

The maximum total incentive that can be earned is 20%. Incentives are not combined; WCB will award the highest of the three incentives earned. More detailed information is available from the WCB.

AUDITS

Health and safety audits are valuable management tools which provide direction for improving the effectiveness of the employer’s health and safety management system. One audit is required during each calendar year. AMHSA leads the administration of the audit process, conducting auditor training and certification, coordinating the peer audit process, reviewing audits for quality, providing leadership, and coordinating resources for participating municipalities.

All AMHSA audits must be conducted using the 2018 Partnerships Standard (either AMHSA’s Excel Audit Workbook or the eCompliance online Audit Tool).

COR CERTIFICATION (EXTERNAL) AUDITS

In order to obtain a Certificate of Recognition (COR), an employer must have its health and safety program audited by an auditor external to the organization. The audit must meet a minimum score of 80%, with no less than 50% in any one of the ten elements.

PEER PROCESS: Each municipality participating in the peer audit process will receive the services of one or more AMHSA Certified Auditors from another participating municipality. In return, each municipality agrees to provide at least one of its own employees to be trained and qualified as an AMHSA Certified Auditor. The municipality agrees to make these auditors available to conduct peer audits of other municipalities participating in the program.

There is no charge for external peer audits; however, the municipality being audited is responsible for the travel costs of the peer auditor(s)AMHSA recommends that each municipality has at least 2 certified auditors on staff, depending on size of the organization.

Peer audits are arranged by contacting AMHSA in writing before June 1, 2019.

CONSULTANT AUDITORS: Municipalities may hire health and safety consultants to perform their COR Maintenance or Certification audits; however, they must ensure that the auditors are AMHSA-certified (list maintained on the AMHSA website).

A copy of the completed Audit Workbook, including the Audit Report and Executive Summary is submitted to AMHSA for a quality assurance review. When satisfied with the quality, AMHSA will send a request to Alberta Labour for a COR. It will be signed jointly by AMHSA and Partnerships and will be valid for 3 years (the employer must perform a maintenance audit for each of the next 2 calendar years).

COR MAINTENANCE (INTERNAL) AUDITS

Municipalities must conduct a Maintenance audit by an AMHSA-certified auditor in each of the intervening two years after the Certification audit to maintain their COR. A copy of the completed Audit Workbook, including the Audit Report and Executive Summary is submitted to AMHSA for a quality assurance review. AMHSA will inform Alberta Labour of the Maintenance audit results, the COR will be maintained, and the resulting PIR refund processed. As of January 1, 2019, maintenance audits must score a minimum of 60% overall.

ACTION PLAN IN LIEU OF MAINTENANCE AUDIT: There is also an option to conduct an Action Plan in lieu of a Maintenance audit – specific templates must be used.

Application deadline is March 31st and deliverables are due November 30th.

Contact Shannon Thomas for details and to see if you qualify.

QUALITY ASSURANCE

AMHSA conducts quality assurance reviews on all audits received (i.e., COR Certification, COR Maintenance, Baseline Audits, Auditor Qualification). Auditors must achieve a score of at least 80% on their QA reviews and all required revisions must be made within the deadlines provided by AMHSA. If the auditor fails to meet this standard, they may be required to reattend auditor training and the audit conducted (whether Certification, Maintenance, or Qualification) will not be valid. The results of the quality assurance review are shared with the auditor in writing.

All participating municipalities must submit completed audits by December 1, 2019.

AUDITORS

All audits must be conducted by AMHSA-certified auditors. To become certified, two courses must be successfully completed:

  1. Health and Safety Management Systems
  2. Health and Safety Auditing

The auditor-in-training must also complete an Auditor Qualification Audit that passes AMHSA’s Quality Assurance processes. The Qualification Audit must be submitted to AMHSA within 6 months of attending training and must meet all other applicable deadlines.

Ideally, participants will have good written and verbal communication skills and some training in occupational health and safety. A qualification (auditor certification) audit is performed after attending the courses (must be submitted within 6 months) and must meet all applicable requirements.

Formal recognition (auditor certification) is granted by AMHSA once both courses and the qualification audit have been successfully completed. The auditor’s certificate is valid for three years – to maintain certification, the auditor must conduct at least two audits which pass QA and attend an Audit Refresher course within each 3-year cycle.

CONTACT US

Alberta Municipal Health and Safety Association
Shannon Thomas
Toll free 1.800.267.9764.
Direct 780.587.745.0458
shannon@amhsa.net
www.amhsa.net

Workers’ Compensation Board - Alberta
www.wcb.ab.ca

Alberta Labour – Partnerships
www.alberta.ca/partnerships-injury-reduction.aspx