Karoly Ban Matei, CRSP
15 years ago, after immigrating to Canada, I discovered that as a newcomer my background and experience were hardly relatable to the reality of my new country and that I had to start building a career from the ground up. I didn't know what that would be, until one of my first employers suggested I should take over their safety department - at least until a suitable candidate was identified. I immediately recognized this to be the niche I was looking for and that my previous set of skills was really transferable. As an economist, I had great analytic skills, and my hobbies (climbing, parachuting, spelunking, mountaineering) have already taught me a great deal about hazards and hazard control.
Still suffering the impostor syndrome, I immediately looked for opportunities to increase my knowledge. Like most fellow safety professionals, I started with the NSCO training and that gave me a foundation to build upon. But finding the program easy, I started to research what were the most recognizable occupational health and safety certifications in Canada. That's how I learned about the CRSP designation and I immediately got excited. I started to study for the examination and I found this different from the safety courses I've taken before - this was challenging! But I always love a challenge, so I studied hard, on my own, after my work hours, for many months. I got my certification on my first try, which only validated the hard work I've put into it. That was in 2011.
During the years I found that most employers know and appreciate the value of the CRSP designation and that the designation can be an effective filter when looking for a new position. I also noted that when relating with other safety professionals, knowing the difficulty of the process, I am somewhat subjective and extend more trust towards my CRSP colleagues.
Keeping your certification up to date requires continuous improvement, which is a major incentive for me. I do that by participating in conferences and other safety events, researching and writing on safety topics, and formal training. Since receiving my certification I have taken over 50 safety and professional development courses, completed a diploma in occupational health and safety and last year I completed my MBA. But this is not the end - because of my certification, I know I will always be developing my skills and that I am enrolled in lifelong learning!
Occupational health and safety is a science and an art. It requires practice, knowledge, and passion. As the field evolves there is a stringent need to ensure that the professionals we entrust with the development, implementation, maintenance, and improvement of our safety program have a verifiable understanding of safety and management practices. To date, to my knowledge, the CRSP designation is the only one that can validate this understanding and for this reason, I highly recommend the certification.