Health and safety in the workplace is clearly very important no matter what trade or industry you are in. When you are in the construction industry though the importance of employee and site health and safety can become a matter of life and death. Building sites and construction trades are littered with risks and potentially dangerous equipment or materials. Health and safety in construction is of such overriding importance that a whole scheme – the Construction Skills Certification Scheme – has been adapted to ensure that it is properly carried out all over the UK.
The CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test
No construction employee is able to gain a CSCS Card (which proves his or her current level of skill, experience and qualification to a site supervisor or potential construction employer) without first having passed the necessary CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test. ConstructionSkills runs a number of targeted Health, Safety & Environment Tests either as a first party provider or through an affiliate. The tests are designed to ensure that construction employees have the right health and safety knowledge to safely perform their trade to the level their CSCS Smart Card says they can.
While ownership of a CSCS Card is not a legal requirement for getting a job in construction, it is such a standard measure in the industry that you are unlikely to be employed without one. Employers know the importance of health and safety at work, both for the good of the employee and for the good of the job. The CSCS card helps to prove that they have achieved a pass in the Health, Safety & Environment Test.
Types of Construction Health, Safety & Environment Test
While ConstructionSkills is the overall governing body that the construction industry uses to mediate all its health and safety at work courses and qualifications, there are independent affiliates whose specialty areas let them provide targeted Health, Safety & Environment Tests for skilled workers. These bodies are: ECS (for electrotechnical workers); JIB-PMES (for plumbers and mechanical engineers; ESS (for HVAC and refrigeration workers); and BOHS, an offshoot of the HSE (for hazardous materials workers). All of these bodies are historically recognised suppliers of health and safety qualifications to skilled and potentially dangerous trades. The cards awarded by ECS, JIB-PMES, ESS and BOH are accepted as equivalent to CSCS Cards by building sites across Britain.
There are construction Health, Safety & Environment Tests for every type and style of trade and construction job. A Basic CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test is required for any person on a construction site, even where he or she is not a construction worker. An Operative Health, Safety & Environment Test is the bare minimum for all site workers. The targeted Health, Safety & Environment Tests described above then apply to specified trades and job descriptions.
Health and Safety for Construction Management
It isn’t only the workers who must be qualified in site health and safety. Managers, supervisors and technicians are required to pass high level Health, Safety & Environment Tests that reflect the responsibility of their positions. The managerial structure is responsible for ensuring the health and safety at work of all construction employees. A Managerial Health, Safety & Environment Test will teach management to orchestrate site health and safety as well as to be safe themselves.