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The CUSP Program Expands to Canada


We are pleased to announce that the Utility Safety & Ops Leadership Network has developed a version of the Certified Utility Safety Professional program that directly serves utility workers employed in Canada. Starting this summer, individuals will have the opportunity to enroll in the two-day utility safety leadership review course and sit for either the CUSP Blue or CUSP Green exam.

The USOLN was founded in 2009 to advocate for a safe, productive utility work environment. In 2010 the organization offered the first CUSP program session in Denver. The program continues to be the only one of its kind that offers a utility safety-specific credential to professionals employed by utilities, contractors and communication providers. By earning the CUSP credential, employees help to assure their employers that they have the requisite knowledge, skills and abilities to safely and correctly execute their roles in the utility work environment. Not only that, those who earn and maintain the CUSP credential have access to a network of nearly 800 other safety professionals who have earned the designation.

As the CUSP program has evolved over the past seven years, there has been increased need and interest in bringing the program to Canada. Given the variation in occupational health, safety and utility regulations among the Canadian provinces, the focus of the new Canadian CUSP program is the development of industry best practices with due consideration given to the provincial internal responsibility systems. In the electric utility industry, safety is one of the greatest benefits derived from the use of best practices. Another benefit is that – unlike OSHA and other regulations – best practices offer a level of flexibility; they are continually changing as new information and technologies are brought to the table.

In an effort to achieve some level of synergy with utility standards, information delivered throughout the Canadian CUSP program will be driven by CAN/ULC-S801-14, “Standard on Electric Utility Workplace Electrical Safety for Generation, Transmission, and Distribution.” Some Canadian utilities are in the process of a gap analysis regarding CAN/ULC-S801 and the existing provincial electrical utility regulations. Various other CAN/ULC standards within S801 will also be referenced in the Canadian CUSP program. The remaining body of knowledge will be derived from multiple benchmark standards, including CSA, ASTM and NFPA.

While there are currently two versions of the CUSP program that have been developed and rolled out – the U.S. program and the Canadian program – other international versions may be developed in the future. Each new program will reflect the regulatory framework of the specified country and its provinces, states and territories. In Canada, the CUSP program will present information and standards relevant to and inclusive of all common provincial practices. No reference will be made to specific provincial or territorial regulations. The standards portion of the program will target the baseline practices that the provincial and territorial regulations have in common.

We expect the first Canadian CUSP exam to be held in June 2016. Visit for additional program information, including which level of certification is right for you. Updates also will be posted on the website as the Canadian CUSP program grows and evolves.

Please share this information within your organization and pass it on to your professional contacts. The ultimate goal of the CUSP program is to bring together as many utility safety professionals as possible and provide avenues to share information, participate in professional development and become involved with opportunities to further the USOLN’s mission.

About the Authors: Chris Grajek, CRSP, CUSP, is director of health and safety for Allteck. John Price, B.Kin., CRSP, CUSP, is manager of safety, work methods and quality management for ENMAX Power Corp.


The Canadian CUSP Team
There are currently six CUSPs who – with the support of their employers – have been working as a team within the USOLN to develop the Canadian CUSP program. If you would like to learn more about the program, feel free to reach out to them at the email addresses below or contact the USOLN at 815-459-1796 or

Jeff Bennett, CUSP
Hundseth Power Line Construction

Andy Felczak, CUSP
Valard Construction

Chris Grajek, CRSP, CUSP

Andrew Menu, CRSP, CUSP
Practical Safety Management

John Price, B.Kin., CRSP, CUSP
ENMAX Power Corp.

Jay Taylor, CUSP

Safety Management, Leadership Development