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Understanding the Value and Importance of VCA Certification

By Ajoy Gonsalves

VCA (Veiligheid, gezondheid en milieu Checklist Aannemers) Certification, in essence, is an assurance of safety, health, and environmental (SHE) management within contracting companies. It is a widely recognized standard, especially in sectors where the risk factor is heightened, such as construction, mechanical engineering, and petrochemical industries.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of VCA certification, its benefits, and the process of acquiring it.

What is VCA and Why is it Important?

VCA certification is a testament to a company's commitment to maintain high standards of safety, health, and environmental management. It's a mark of assurance that the organization adheres to the principal's requirements, understands the nature of risks associated with its activities, and is conscious of the activities of the principal and other companies on-site.

Applications of VCA Certification

VCA certification is intended for those companies which carry out activities presenting an increased risk in a hazardous environment. This includes:

  1. Mechanical construction activities: Maintenance work, construction, etc.
  2. Electrical engineering and process control: Maintenance of process control systems, electrical systems, etc.
  3. Construction work: Architectural work, etc.
  4. Technical services: Isolation (removing/applying), scaffolding, industrial cleaning, blasting/conservation/painting, etc.

Levels of VCA Certification

The VCA certification is categorized into three levels:

  • VCA:* This level deals with the direct management of HSE aspects in the workplace, without resorting to subcontractors.
  • VCA:** This level covers the direct management of HSE aspects in the workplace, as well as the HSE structure (a.o. HSE policy, HSE organization and improvement policy).
  • VCA Petrochemistry: This level covers the direct management of HSE aspects in the workplace, as well as the HSE structure (including HSE policy, HSE organization and improvement policy) and additional requirements specific to the Petrochemistry sector.

The Benefits of VCA Certification

By obtaining a VCA certificate, a company not only ensures the safety of its employees but also gains a competitive advantage in the market. Here are some reasons why VCA certification is crucial:

  • The VCA certificate is a useful means of showing that your company meets standard requirements regarding safety, health, and environment.
  • It reduces the need for employers to perform safety checks, as the VCA certification ensures that these checks have been taken care of beforehand.
  • An organization with a VCA certification can be confident that the work will be carried out in a manner that ensures safety, health, and environment will not be endangered.
  • VCA certification can help a company gain more work in a time where safety is a significant social concern.
  • It is an internationally recognized certificate, which enhances the credibility of the organization.

How to Obtain a VCA Certificate?

The process of obtaining a VCA certificate involves several steps:

  1. Preparation and Implementation of the Checklist: This must be done at least 3 months prior to the certification.
  2. Request for Certification: This is done from an accredited Certification Body (APAVE Belgium sa).
  3. Audit Program Proposal: Once the request is accepted, an audit program proposal is put forward.
  4. Document Evaluation: This is the first phase of the audit.
  5. Implementation Control: This is the second phase of the audit.
  6. Audit Report Approval: The report is approved by the coordinator.
  7. Certification Decision: The competent person of the certification body makes the decision and issues the certificate.

VCA Certification for VMware

For those in the IT field, VMware, a leading innovator in enterprise software, offers VCA certification. This certification tests candidates on the fundamental knowledge needed to successfully work with today's virtual desktop and server platforms. It covers basic virtual server design, virtual server and desktop troubleshooting, and the basic theories of virtualization.

To obtain VCA certification, one must pass an exam that can be taken via the internet. The exam is taken through an accredited organization, and upon successful completion, a person receives a VCA certificate that demonstrates their professional capabilities.


Who Needs VCA Certification?

VCA certification is primarily intended for companies operating in high-risk environments, such as construction, electrical, mechanical engineering, and petrochemical industries. It is also valuable for contractors and subcontractors who want to demonstrate their commitment to safety standards and for clients who require a standardized measure of HSE compliance from their service providers.

What Does the VCA Certification Process Involve?

The VCA certification process typically involves:
  • Conducting a self-assessment to understand the current HSE management status.
  • Implementing necessary procedures and policies to comply with VCA standards.
  • Training employees on VCA requirements and safety practices.
  • Undergoing an audit by a certified body, which assesses the company's compliance with VCA standards.
  • Upon passing the audit, the company receives VCA certification.

How Long is VCA Certification Valid and How is it Maintained?

VCA certification is generally valid for three years. To maintain the certification, companies must:

  • Continuously adhere to the VCA standards.
  • Undergo periodic surveillance audits (usually annually) to ensure ongoing compliance.
  • After three years, the company must undergo a recertification audit to renew the VCA certification.


In conclusion, VCA certification is of significant value to any company operating in a hazardous environment. It not only ensures the safety of the employees but also gives the company a competitive edge. Obtaining this certificate might seem like a daunting task, but the benefits it provides make it a worthwhile investment.

It's important to remember that safety, health, and environment management is not just about obtaining a certificate. It's about creating a safe and healthy work environment for everyone involved. So, whether you're a small business owner, a manager in a multinational corporation, or an employee, understanding and implementing the principles of VCA certification is crucial.