February 2014 Newsletter


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It’s been a while since our last newsletter. Janie and I have been very busy auditing,
conducting safety perception surveys, managing health and safety for three small
companies, training and helping clients prepare their programs for a COR audit. All of
these activities have left little time to write.

PIR Surveys

Few people are aware that employer participants in the Partnerships program have an
option to conduct Safety Surveys as a COR maintenance option. There hasn’t been
much talk of this option as most Certifying Partners (CPs) are simply not yet prepared or equipped to offer the option. One of the CPs, (i.e. Enform) recently announced they support this option and are using an Ontario based company to manage their survey data. Apparently, surveying is becoming more of a discussion point in CP meetings as they realize more companies are looking for alternative options to evaluate their health and safety management system.

It is important to note that the Safety Surveys approved by Partnerships are not the same as Safety Perception Surveys which are currently not approved. Under the current PIR Safety Surveys guidelines, surveys must meet strict content requirements.These guidelines are essentially the same or at least very similar to the guidelines CPs must use to develop their audit protocols. As a result, surveys developed under the survey guidelines are very similar in content as audit protocols. From an information perspective therefore, the information gathered from the two approaches will be the same. So, what is the advantage or incentive to a company currently suffering from audit fatigue to switch to surveying instead of auditing? There may be none. If the CPs supporting surveys have access to a good database to facilitate the administration of the surveys electronically, manage the data and then prepare detailed reports, there may be some significant savings to the company. If the surveys have to be administered and then assessed manually, there is no savings as the auditor must wade through all of the survey information manually and then sort it out question by question. Without access to a good database to manage the data, companies surveying could find the cost of their assessment has actually increased rather than decreased.

A contact in Alberta Human Services has shared that they are currently discussing ways of offering safety perception surveys as an assessment option. Apparently there are some basic perception survey guidelines that are now going out to CPs for review. If approved, this will open some doors for companies to start gathering key critical improvement information that is currently not available through the audit process. Compass has offered to help the Government come up with viable survey approaches/options and will continue to support the use of the safety perception survey assessment option. For example, we have a powerful perception survey database and instructional book that could be modified to meet program needs. Some key features of our survey application are discussed later in this Newsletter.

Article – The Evolution of Health and Safety According to Band-aid Bob

We invite you to read our soon to be published article entitled ‘The Evolution of Health and Safety According to Band-aid Bob’. The article briefly provides a somewhat fictitious overview of how health and safety evolved. Health and safety got its’ beginnings at a time when some industries regarded mules with more value than humans. Safety programs started to become more prevalent around 1915 when workers insurances such as the Worker’s Compensation Board were formed. At this time companies started to hire safety people. In the early 1950s safety evolved further giving rise to safety management systems guided by a number of basic elements. These elements were discovered by Band-aid Bob one day while hiking in the mountains. Further evolutionary changes are occurring now with the discovery of more safety elements such as management credibility, trust, satisfaction, employee perceptions/beliefs, etc. The article provides some insight into what those new elements are and how they may change how safety programs are managed in the future. You can find this article on our website by clicking here.

Improvement to the Compass Safety Perception Survey DataBase

Over the last year we have made a number of promises to clients regarding upgrades to our safety perception survey application. We have been doing some work with our development partners CCD Systems and have succeeded in getting some of the upgrades in place. A number of upgrades are still under development but should be available shortly. Here is a summary of the work completed and ongoing:


Quantifying Comments
We wanted to add a bit more science to the safety perceptions survey approach.
The scores entered for each question are quantified using the Likert Scale but now we can quantify the comments. Clients using our survey application can enter a +, – or neutral for each comment. The survey application can then create pie charts of each question with the percentage of comments depicted as % positive, negative or neutral.

High/Low Report
A report listing the scores to questions in descending order from highest score to lowest is now available.

Now it is easier to search through all of the surveys in our application. Safety associations and survey consultants will find this change most useful in searching for specific surveys that they are authorized to access. The application now orders survey first into years (e.g. 2013, 2012, 2011) and then alphabetically.

The ability to exempt questions from scoring
Some clients expressed the desire to have questions included in their survey that they can choose to have included or exclude from the survey averages. This is particularly advantageous to companies that are surveying with an industry or safety association survey but want to include some of their own questions into the survey.  The association may not want the new company specific questions to enter into the averages so we provided the option that allows the company to include or exclude questions in the survey averages.


We are well on our way to offering surveys in different languages. We have had all of the English in the application and master question lists translated professionally into French (Cdn.) and Spanish. These two languages will be the first we offer as an option. In the future, following translation, the database infrastructure will allow us to quickly add additional languages. This will open many new doors to us internationally. North American companies with operations in other countries or who have employees whose native language is not English will now have the ability to conduct a corporate survey in more than one language.

We are in the process of adding a graphing package that will allow for a variety of graphing options versus the limited ones currently available.

Standard Deviation
We are adding a standard deviation report that will allow clients to compare scores against the distribution of all survey scores.

Bench Marking
We have always had the ability to conduct some benchmarking but now we are making a benchmarking report more available or accessible to our clients. In addition, companies conducting surveys want to be able to compare question scores accumulated averages in the database. Associations and other safety groups will be able to compare their scores to averages of their specific group (e.g. by industry).

Once these changes are completed Compass will have a safety perception survey application that is more powerful and flexible than any other in the world.

Simply Safety

The company that helps us with our survey application is called CCD Systems. They recently purchased a safety database called Simply Safety!. Simply Safety! is a very powerful safety management database that tracks training, incidents, health records, corrective actions, and much more. As is, the program is an extremely useful and powerful database. CCD is in the process of adding some very unique and desirable upgrades to the application that will make it a must buy for any company needing help managing health and safety system data. For example, companies will find it easier to assess employee health and safety performance by accessing reports on supervisor and management participation in meetings, investigations, inspections, observations, etc. Companies will be able to govern when an investigation can be closed because they will have the ability to keep an investigation file open until all designated fields such as signatures/reviews have been completed. For more information here is link to a fact sheet on the application,

To view our other newsletters please visit our archive.




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