CSP Exam – Tectonic EHS http://www.tectonicehs.com Your One Stop Resource For EHS Test Prep Tue, 14 Mar 2017 14:47:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Making the leap! http://www.tectonicehs.com/making-leap/ Fri, 06 Sep 2013 04:35:10 +0000 http://www.tectonicehs.com/?p=485 Everyone comes into the field of Occupational Health and Safety a different way.  Some study a related major in college, some start in an operations position and find they enjoy working in safety, and some even just get “voluntold” that they will be filling a safety role.  So what is the difference between someone that does safety work when needed, and a committed Safety Professional?  What does it take to make the leap to becoming a real Safety Professional?  There are many answers to this question but the 4 key elements below will make a major difference in your safety career.

1. Passion for the work.  Perhaps the most important attribute every safety professional needs is to be passionate about safety and protecting people.  Taking time to realize that injury rates and safety statistics represent real people that were hurt.  This can be a sobering experience.  This realization can also lead to becoming a more serious safety professionals.  Why do most of us do safety?  It is because we care about people and we want everyone to go home safe everyday.

2. Training and Education.  Passion is important but it will only get you so far.  The world of safety is becoming more complex everyday and to be successful in this field it is essential that you get the proper training or education.  Trainings can come in many formats and levels, ranging from a company provided computer based training to a week long course focused on health and safety.  It is important that the training you receive is applicable to your work and that it will make you more effective.  Don’t just sign up for a course because it has the word “safety” in the title.  Take the time to research the course and make sure it will be a valuable experience.  In addition to initial trainings, it is just as important to periodically attend refresher courses.  This is especially true if you do not regularly work in all facets of safety.  Conferences are a great place to look for continuing education courses and keep yourself up-to-date with the latest in safety.

Some individuals may choose to pursue a college degree or certificate in safety.  This can be a great way to deepen your understanding and open doors to future opportunities!  Again make sure any program you are considering is well structured and that it will really add value to your career.  There are some well known full-time programs in safety related subjects such as Safety Sciences, Industrial Hygiene, and Safety Engineering.  If you plan to continue working full-time while in school, there are also some online programs available.

3. Certifications.  A professional certification tells employers (and clients) that you are serious about your career and about health and safety.  The Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) are the most well recognized certifications in Occupational Health and Safety.  To obtain either certification you will need to pass a comprehensive exam.  These exams are very challenging and they will require you to study and prepare yourself.  Through exam preparation you will stretch and grow as a safety professional.       

4. Industry Knowledge. Good industry knowledge is just as important as a strong background in safety.  To be a successful safety professional you must understand the processes found in your industry and be able to recognize potential hazards.  This will make it easier to communicate with operations and to remove, or control, potential hazards as needed.  You should take time to work with your operations group and learn your industry.  For consultants, this can be difficult if you work in many different industries.  However, a consultant that can speak industry lingo and explain processes will be valued far more than a consultant that has a difficult time relating to operations.

How do I Become a Certified Safety Professional (CSP)? http://www.tectonicehs.com/how-do-i-become-a-certified-safety-professional-csp/ Sat, 27 Jul 2013 22:59:03 +0000 http://www.tectonicehs.com/?p=321 You may know someone that is a CSP or have heard of this professional certification, but it is not always clear how to become a CSP yourself. Becoming a Certified Safety Professional takes time, professional experience, and a formal evaluation of your skills and knowledge (through an exam). Fortunately the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, also known as BCSP, provides a number of great resources to help you understand each requirement and how to obtain your own CSP designation. Below are a few general guidelines to get you started.

Are you a prospective CSP?

If you are thinking about getting your CSP, the first question you need to ask yourself is “Are you on the right track to become a CSP?”  This may seem like a basic question, but if you are not in a career that is related to occupational health and safety (or at least a student studying in this field), then getting your CSP may prove to be difficult. Certain careers have a more obvious connection to the CSP and it is clear why individuals in these type of jobs would pursue the certification (i.e. Safety Engineer, Industrial Hygienist, General Health and Safety Specialist).  Then there are other positions that seem to have no connection whatsoever (i.e. a floral decorator, stock broker, attorney).  The tricky jobs are those positions that could benefit from a CSP, but don’t necessarily require it (i.e. a manager responsible for a health and safety department, an attorney specializing in OSHA litigation, an occupational health physician).  If you are serious about getting your CSP, take a few minutes to evaluate your life and determine if the CSP is really going to benefit you in the future.  If you do happen to be in a job that seems completely unrelated but you still want your CSP, don’t give up!  There may be ways to get more safety experience in your current job.

Also keep in mind that before you can sit for you CSP exam, you must first meet the requirements of the ASP (Associate Safety Professional) unless you meet one of the BCSP exception criteria.  See the BCSP site for more details.

Associate Safety Professional Information

Evaluating your experience

Once you determine that you are ready to pursue the CSP, you will need to evaluate your professional safety experience.  This is a required section of your application that you will need to provide to BCSP.  First you must add up your total experience points.  You get 1 point for each month of professional safety experience.  A minimum of 96 points is required to sit for the CSP (only 48 are required to sit for the ASP), however points can also be awarded for degrees completed.  Different types of degrees and majors of study are awarded different point values, whether or not your program was ABET accredited also makes a difference in points received.  For general health and safety related degrees from an ABET accredited program, the following points would be awarded:      Associate: 24 points; Bachelors: 48 points; Masters: 12 points; PhD: 24 points.  In addition to knowing how long you have been in each position that you are seeking credit for, you will also need to be able to breakdown how much of your time was spent working in various health and safety responsibilities.  This information will be required for your application.

Submitting your application

Once you have determined you meet the 96 point requirement and have the appropriate professional experience, you can submit your application to BSCP.  The application is fairly straightforward but it does take some time.  In addition to the application form, you will need to provide academic transcripts from all programs you have been enrolled in, as well as 2 professional reference letters.  BCSP provides a template for the reference letters to be competed on.  Fill out your name on these forms and send to to those individuals that will be providing your reference.  Once they have completed and signed, they can return to you to be submitted with your application.  The application fee $160.00.

Studying for the exam

Now that you have applied, and hopefully your application was accepted, it is time to get serious about studying for the exam!  Develop a program that works for you!  You may want to use flashcards, software, or even attend a preparation class.   The amount and type of resources you use can look different if you are paying for everything out of your own pocket or if your employer will be helping out.  Each preparation method can be valuable but you will need to find what works for you and your budget.  If your resources are tight, my recommendation is to use the ASP or CSP software from Datachem. This software provides a large number of test questions very similar to what you will see on the exam.

Becoming a CSP

You have prepared, studied, and now all you need to do is pass the exam!  Once you pass the test, you will receive your CSP but you must continue to develop yourself to maintain your certification.  Remember, the CSP is more than just three letters after your name.  The CSP means you are qualified to ensure the safety and health of those employees that you are responsible for.  It is important that you take this responsibility seriously throughout your life and career.

For additional information I recommend you visit the BCSP Website. Photo on homepage by Bradley Hahn and courtesy of US Department of Labor.

Is Datachem CSP and CIH Prep Effective for Exam Preparation? http://www.tectonicehs.com/is-datachem-cih-prep-effective-for-exam-preparation/ Thu, 09 May 2013 03:01:35 +0000 http://www.tectonicehs.com/?p=198 Most professionals preparing to take the CIH, CSP or ASP exam have heard of Datachem and their exam preparation software.  The company has been around for many years and they have a good reputation. Still with a price of $299 for the ASP software and $399 for the CSP and CIH programs, many individuals wonder if it is cost.  (There is also an ASP/CSP combo program available for $598).

I can personally attest to the value of the Datachem software because I used it while preparing for my own exams.  The DataChem programs are easy to use and contains thousands of questions that are very similar to what you will see on the actual exam.  You can take full practice tests or just review specific categories.  The program also allows users to mark questions for further study and provides answers with detailed explanations to each question.  The Datachem software is a great product and definitely worth the costs.  Another great feature of the software is that you can print off questions from the practice tests for study.

During my own exam preparation, I liked to take a practice test and then go back and review the answers and explanations for any questions I missed.  I would then print off all of these questions and explanations and review throughout my week.  The software will pull these questions out for you fairly easily; however, I found the easiest way to print them was to copy and paste each question I wanted to review into one word document.  I would then print and save a copy of the document for review.  This is a great way to focus on your weaknesses and not spend too much time on the areas you have already mastered.

Datachem provides enough questions that you will never reach a point that you have the questions memorized or run out of material.  In addition to great study material, the practice tests help you get used to sitting at a computer and answering questions for long periods of time; this is an important part of prepping for exam day.  I fully recommend using the DataChem software in your preparations for the exam.

If your resources are limited and you are trying to cut on costs, I would forgo a prep course that can require expensive travel and focus your studies solely on the DataChem software.  It will provide you the greatest overall value.  There are a lot of ways to best utilize the software and go about studying for the exam.  You just need to find what will work for you.