Study Tips for the BCRSP Examinations

Updated from the Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine Article May 2012

Alan D. Quilley CRSP

Safety Results Ltd.


One of the most rewarding parts of my professional practice is helping safety practitioners become Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (CRSP) or a Canadian Registered Safety Technician (CRST). As one of the providers of courses, study materials, flash cards and practice questions, I meet a great number of safety people struggling to take in and retain huge volumes of information and knowledge required to meet the testing of the 113 (CRSP) or the 81 (CRST) defined competencies in the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals’ Blueprints for Examination.

During our classes, we have the adult students discuss how they are studying and what they think is the best way to prepare for this comprehensive examination. There are tons of good ideas that are shared. So many that I thought I’d put them in an article and start a LinkedIn group for those who are currently in the process.

I hope that, over time, the database of ideas and practice questions will become a helpful place for candidates to visit and participate. Here are a few to consider:

  • Give yourself significant time to study and prepare. Seeking professional designation is not for the faint of heart. Give yourself sufficient time to formulate and execute a study plan. You’ll likely be a CRSP for the rest of your career. Take the time to do it right.
  • Don’t be disheartened if you aren’t successful the first time. There are many common reasons for being unsuccessful. The most common one is that the plan the candidate had to study and prepare was not executed because of work or family pressures and events. There is no shame in not being successful. And once you finally succeed, you don’t put how many tries it took you to succeed. You don’t indicate: “John Smith CRSP (it took me twice).” It just never happens. Some of the finest CRSPs I know were not successful the first time they tried, and nobody needs to know that.
  • Read the 113 competencies and develop three questions that you would ask another exam prep student to determine if they know the subject of the competency. Use the BCRSP’s study guides, recommended texts or the Examination Prep Course materials you’ve received if you’ve taken a course.
  • Make flash cards for the “memory” work portions of the domains. Put the question on one side and the answer on the opposite side. For example:
    • Who is Sir Percival Pott?
    • What is Douglas McGregor known for?
    • Describe the PDCA Cycle


  • Seek out an expert in the fields of expertise you are struggling with (hygienist, OH nurse, and/or engineer) and ask their assistance for the “tough” questions.
  • Read, read, read. I know that in our preparation courses, students who read the material just before the practice questions claim that they learn a great deal by just reading the study material. Let me demonstrate: The National Safety Council (NSC) Method of Risk Analysis is based on this formula: Risk = Probability + Severity + Exposure. Remember this!
  • As you read through the materials you have, create a colour coding system to indicate your progress and level of understanding. Mark each page of information with a colour that indicates how well you know the material on the page. For example: green means “good to go”; yellow means “know it well”; red means “needs more work and review”; and another colour for “don’t know this subject well at all.” As you start to increase your confidence with the material, change the colour to reflect your progress. This will not only refine your study over time, it will be a great confidence builder as you see your knowledge increasing over time.
  • Create memory joggers for yourself to help you remember the information you are struggling with. If you’ve ever studied music, you remember the simple example of remembering what notes belong where on the music sheet (Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge — or Fun, for those of us wanting to avoid sugar).
  • One way to ensure you really know and understand something is to prepare to teach it to others. Find fellow CRSP candidates in your area and create a study group. Divide the work among the participants and have each prepare a session to discuss one of the competencies to the others.
  • An important tip is to study what you don’t know and spend less time on what you do know. Humans are pretty predictable. We have a tendency to read what we like and avoid what we don’t like. Once you’ve organized what you know and what you need to work on, then you should schedule your reading and study based on your analysis of areas where you need to improve.
  • Take a course on the subjects you are weak in. If Occupational Hygiene is an area you need to work on, find an online course or one at a local university and refresh your knowledge. If fire protection hasn’t been a big part of your career, so far, find a course or befriend a fellow professional who has had that experience to help you understand.
  • What is the National Safety Council’s Risk Assessment Formula? (After you’ve answered this question, see point #6 above). You probably got it right! If not — read, read, read.

I hope some of these tips have helped you feel more confident with your preparation. Feel free to join our LinkedIn Group and email or call us for our study materials and course schedule. We’re in this together and the CRSP designation is about getting more professionals, not keeping people out. Most CRSPs that I know will be happy to help you anyway they can.

I hope to see you at one of our courses!

Can’t make it to one of our Courses? We provide individual coaching

Or you can purchase our study materials


When the Net Was New…

On the Net Not long ago I received a very generous comment about my contribution to the Safety Community. Those things are always nice to hear and read. In this particular comment the writer called me a “pioneer.” Is that another way of saying I’m OLD? (Big Smile).
At any rate, it started me reflecting on my career. Here’s a nice article written in The Alberta Government’s Occupational Health & Safety Magazine from January 2001. When the internet was still relatively new! The website is long gone but it’s fun to reflect. Follow the Link to read about our efforts almost two decades ago.
January 2001 Article.png

No need to force labels on “causes.” A cause, is a cause, is a cause, is a cause…the only question that really needs answering is “Are you going to do something about the identified cause.”


“This report also contains 16 findings as to risk. Although these did not lead directly to the accident, they are related to unsafe acts, unsafe conditions, or safety issues with the potential to degrade rail safety. Some of the risks that need to be addressed are:

  • the continuing risk of leaving trains unattended
  • the risk of implementing single-person train operations
  • the risk of not systematically testing petroleum crude oil
  • the risk of not planning and analyzing routes on which dangerous goods are carried
  • the risk of not having emergency response assistance plans in place
  • the risk of Transport Canada not ensuring that safety management systems work effectively”