What is VCA? Very simply put: a guarantee of safety. Security company Security Masters and its department Safety Masters (fire and safety guards) passed the VCA P-audit last week. Anyone who works with them therefore knows that they place great emphasis on working safely. But how do you obtain a VCA certificate? We discuss this in this article.
What is VCA?
VCA is the abbreviation of the Dutch words ‘Veiligheids Checklist Aannemers’. In English, that is ‘Safety, health and environment Checklist Contractors’ or SCC. Whoever wants to qualify for an VCA certificate must pay much attention in his activities to the safety and the health of all people involved and to the environment.
What is VCA P?
There are different gradations within VCA. In ascending order they are VCA*, VCA** and VCA P. What is the difference between these different levels?
- VCA* is meant for companies with less than 35 employees who do not perform complex high-risk work and do not use subcontractors.
- VCA** is for companies with more than 35 employees and/or that are using subcontractors and/or that are performing complex risky work.
- VCA P is for companies that carry out assignments in the petrochemical sector.
For VCA** the requirements are slightly higher than for VCA*. VCA P in turn is the highest recognition in the field of safe working. Within Multi Masters Group Green Masters and Techni Masters have a VCA* certificate. Cleaning Masters, Construct Masters, Hygi Masters, Security Masters and Safety Masters have a VCA P-certificate.
In addition to the VCA certificates mentioned, there is also a VCU certificate. VCU is specifically aimed at companies in the temporary employment sector. Within the Multi Masters Group, temporary employment agency Recrewtment has a VCU certificate.
What is the purpose of a VCA certificate?
The VCA certificate is necessary to be eligible for certain contracts. With tenders in the petrochemical sector, for instance, the VCA P-certificate is one of the basic requirements for being allowed to participate. In a broader sense, as an VCA-certified company you indicate that you attach great importance to safety, health and the environment. It is therefore not just about the sheet of paper. Applying the idea that lies behind it is much more important.
Who qualifies for a VCA certificate?
Every company that performs work for other companies and uses an VCA-compliant Safety-Healty-Environment management system is eligible for an VCA-certificate. To obtain this, you must submit an application for an VCA audit to a recognised certification body. In the case of Security Masters and Safety Masters we work together with BTV.
What is the procedure for obtaining a VCA certificate?
1. After your application, the certification body requests a number of basic details and provides you with an offer.
2. After approval of this offer, the certification body appoints an VCA auditor. The auditor will conduct the certification audit. This consists of two phases:
- Phase 1 is the document assessment. The VCA auditor assesses the documents in which the Safety-Health-Environment management system of the company concerned is described.
- Phase 2 is the assessment of the implementation of the Safety-Health-Environment management system. This is done both in your own company and at the locations where your employees perform work. The entire hierarchical line is thus subjected to an audit.
The audit is based on the VCA checklist. This consists of 11 chapters and is very broad. How does a company deal with risk management? What about training: is the staff sufficiently trained (e.g. VCA)? Have the materials been inspected? What is the procedure in case of incidents? And so on.
3. The VCA auditor draws up an audit report and submits it to the VCA coordinator. This is the person within the certification body who assesses all audit reports. The certification decision is made on the basis of this assessment.
4. If the result is positive, your company will receive a VCA certificate. If there are shortcomings, you must propose corrective measures to the certification body. These measures in turn must be assessed within three months.
What if your company has been awarded the certificate?
The VCA certificate is valid for 3 years. That is, if you always pass the annual control audit.
The idea behind VCA is that the certificate is the icing on the cake. The reward for companies that pay attention to and commit to safety year in, year out. Not only their clients will appreciate this, but also their own employees. After all, the aim of a prevention policy must be that every employee goes home as healthy as he came to work, both physically and mentally. The VCA certificate is, as already mentioned, much more than a sheet of paper!