Prioritizing health and safety with NHSA certification

A valuable health and safety opportunity for newer workers—and a valuable asset for workplaces.

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Improving health and safety at construction workplaces is a big job. It can take years of experience and training to grasp the nuances of legislation, understand every hazard, and know the best procedures for each task. But even relatively new workers can contribute to the cause.

One way for entry-level employees to make a difference is by working toward their National Health and Safety Administrator (NHSA) certification. Designed for individuals who are active in the administration of their company’s health and safety program but do not have a minimum three years of construction safety-related field experience (in the previous 10 years), the NHSA program demonstrates a worker’s willingness to expand their skills and knowledge in support of workplace health and safety.

It also lays the groundwork for further professional development. Once certified, an NHSA is qualified to serve as a COR® internal auditor and construction health and safety representative. They may also be better equipped to pursue designation as a National Construction Safety Officer (NCSO®) once they have the necessary amount of in-field experience.

A streamlined process

IHSA introduced the NHSA program in early 2023. Megan Hanna, a Health and Safety Specialist at Pumpcrete Corp., recently became the first person in Ontario to earn NHSA certification.

“The application process was very straightforward,” she says. “And the process to earn my certificate took about six months.”

Of course, each participant’s timeline depends on their ability to successfully complete a variety of courses— ranging from Basics of Supervising to Working at Heights—and tasks such as delivering two documented safety talks. Candidates must also pass NHSA provincial and national exams.

Knowledge and confidence

“Earning NHSA certification is an amazing opportunity to show off your knowledge and commitment to health and safety—especially for the people who are just starting out in the field, like me,” Hanna says. “It’s great to have this certification while gaining the on-site experience that I’ll need to ultimately achieve my NCSO® designation.”

More than just a piece of paper, NHSA certification empowers workers to be active contributors to their companies’ occupational health and safety management systems. It can also provide additional workplace benefits, by giving employers confidence that their certified workers are well trained to perform their duties to the highest standards of health and safety, and by helping to build (or maintain) an overall culture of safety within an organization.

Do you have what it takes?

Find out more about the National Health and Safety Administrator certification program at