Understanding Professional Practice Limitations

From time-to-time BCRSP is contacted by employers, insurers, lawyers, or individuals asking if a task or activity falls within the qualifications of a safety professional. The answer to this question is often ‘it depends’.

Safety Technicians and Safety Professionals who are certified by the BCRSP are required under the code of ethics and professional conduct to “Recognize their limitations and perform only those services that may be handled competently based on one’s training and experience.”

As a safety technician or safety professional, to determine if a task or activity falls within your scope of practice, you must be able to answer ‘yes’ to the following questions:

Does the task or activity fall within the relevant BCRSP examination blueprint that defines the competencies? 

The BCRSP Examination Blueprints are profession/peer-validated documents that identify the competencies required of the safety technician or safety professional.  You must also consider the legislated requirements. Some provincial legislation narrowly defines who may perform certain tasks or activities or may require specific training. Be sure you know the legislated requirements. 

Is the task or activity supported by your employer or practice setting?

Employers are responsible for determining roles and responsibilities of their employees, including whether a safety technician or safety professional can perform certain activities. If you are uncertain, consult with your employer and broader safety team to determine if the task or activity is appropriate. This includes reviewing and understanding organisational policies and procedures. 

If you are self employed, when advertising services the safety technician or safety professional should make every effort to ensure it is an accurate reflection of the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the consultants involved. Self-employed safety technicians or safety professionals should ensure they are taking on work for which they are qualified to do or hire the appropriate expertise to support project delivery. 

Do you have the knowledge, skill, and judgement to perform the tasks or activity? 

Your individual scope of practice is unique and specific to you. A variety of factors can influence individual scope, including the context of your work, competence, knowledge, skill, and judgment. You may have taken additional training or education or obtained other certifications that will broaden or narrow your individual scope of practice.  Consider whether you are adequately trained and/or experienced to perform the task or activity or give advice on any topic. 

Safety Technicians and Safety Professionals who are certified by the BCRSP also have an ongoing obligation for continuous professional development. Through the CPD process, safety technicians and practitioners should be addressing gaps in their practice to ensure adequate and up to date knowledge, skills, and judgement for effective and safe practice.