(Transcribed from Video at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfJpRJg2P6hIvx7JAQsRAxQ)

As Steve Covey says, “You manage things, not people.” Compliance to rules means to conform, submit, or adapt as required, and it results in a loss of control. How do you react when you have a loss of control? You resist in any way possible, subtly or overt, and you become a victim.

We victimize workers and we’re doing it right now. For example, with the 21-day rule for auditors in Alberta, that means that auditors have to produce an audit in 21 days. If they get ill, they have to ask permission from the certifying partner so that the company does not lose COR. I do not think that is correct. I would be more inclined to support it if the certifying partners actually had the same rule. They still have 45 days to do QA on an audit.

If you want to improve the timelines for audits, then also make QA faster. One certifying partner, when I asked them why they were not subject to the 21-day rule, she said it was a question of logistics. It would be impossible to QA in 21 days. And I say, hire more people. As safety professionals, we know if we’re doing a company, a family-run company, and they have one set of rules for family and another set of rules for workers, the rules become a joke and resistance and victimization occurs.

This is what is happening today in Alberta that I see, and I started the original audit process. I wrote the first audit for the ACSA and I’ve seen changes that have not made me particularly happy. I see that command and control is getting worse and worse. With the OSAR audits, I had a situation where a consultant of mine had his auditor certification stripped away from him because they said he did a bad audit. It turned out that he had to, like the Spanish inquisition, he was presumed guilty and had to prove his innocence in the midst of audit season. It turned out that the OHS officer made an error. The person that was supposed to be there and told them the proper safety manual to look at had left, she looked at the wrong one. So of course, my consultant looked like he wasn’t doing his job. And it was ironed out, so it had a good ending. However, he’s a broken man. He doesn’t enjoy auditing anymore and he’s told me as soon as he gets financially able, he will retire.

I have to say the same thing. As soon as I am able financially, I will retire too. It is not pleasant to audit. And the general, solicitor general auditor, who initiated the OSAR audit concept, interestingly enough, he, as the solicitor general, does not have to verify his auditing skills to anyone else. Different rules, same thing.

I guess some auditors are more equal than others.


Barb Semeniuk is a veteran Safety Auditor and Worker Advocate. Her experience and diligence save companies dollars, and make workers safer while on the job.