Construction Site Safety Advice

site safety constructionHealth and safety is the lifeblood of the construction industry – which is why CSCS was set up in the mid 1990s, to try and regulate the more than 350 trades, professions and work schemes in the sector. The purpose of CSCS is to ensure that every employee working in the construction industry is measurably qualified in the health and safety pertinent to his or her job. CSCS Cards are only given out to workers who have achieved a pass on their test: which allows site supervisors to hire employees that must have passed the relevant health and safety exam.

While CSCS is not law, it has been adopted by enough of the industry to make it a necessity on 80% of British building sites. To ensure a measurable standard of safety on site, simply implement a policy that refuses access to persons not holding a current and correct CSCS Card.

Trade Specific Construction Health and Safety

One of the big selling points of CSCS and the CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test is the trade specific training it delivers. There are multiple variants of the CSCS test, which have been designed to address the health and safety requirements of all the trades in the construction industry. These include Working at Heights; Lift and Escalator; Managerial and Professional; Supervisor; and even a Basic Test for visitors.

The aim of CSCS is to make sure that no one without the right qualifications ends up working on a potentially dangerous site.

Which CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test is Right for Which Profession?

The profession a person is in will determine which type of CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test he or she should take. There are two basic strands to the health, safety & environment test hierarchy: practical and administrative. Practically determined health, safety & environment tests are those that address the physical and environmental needs of a trade – like Working at Heights or Highways. Administrative health, safety & environment tests are required for high level positions (Manager; Supervisor; Technician), where an employee’s job carries managerial health and safety responsibilities.

Managerial positions are usually taken care of by the MAP (Managerial and Professional) CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test. Members of skilled trades like HVAC, PMES and electrotechnical may find that their own industry body-run health, safety & environment tests are used to replace the CSCS test. In cases where an industry body like ECS (for electrotechnicians) runs a test that is used to replace the CSCS test, bookings are still made in the normal fashion: online or by talking to a Construction Support Line agent.

Choose the Right Course – and the Right Material

Industry affiliated CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Tests, and the MAP test, may have specific revision materials associated with them. All materials can be ordered online in a variety of formats. Revision materials for the CSCS card tests replicate the questions and answers from actual tests, so candidates are able to familiarise themselves with the style of the test as well as its substance.

Keeping the site safe starts with good health and safety training. The industry standard leads the way.

CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test Exemptions

There are rare cases in which an applicant for a CSCS Card does not have to first pass a CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test. The Eire (FAS) Safepass system is held in place of the CSCS in the Republic of Ireland: and in the UK, a very limited number of construction employees will qualify for an exemption.

Exemptions for the CSCS test are restricted to people that have passed an NVQ or SVQ (construction related) in the last two years and have not yet applied for a CSCS Smart Card. Even in these cases the number of exemptions is very small, so be sure to check your individual circumstances with Construction Support Line. We will be able to advise you whether you are exempt from taking the test or not.

Other Exceptions to the Normal CSCS Card Routes

CSCS has made provisions for its Scheme to account for experience and competence in long serving staff, who may not have had the chance to pass NVQ or SVQ Levels in the normal way. CSCS recognises that there is a stratum of senior management in the construction industry whose high degree of competence and knowledge means that they must be free to manage sites, contractors and teams as they always have done.

As a result, CSCS has created the Profiled Route, which allows existing managers and supervisors to attain a Black or Gold CSCS Card, without having to gain the normally recognised NVQ and SVQ Levels. Instead, the manager is able to take an assessor/internal verifier qualification in a construction related NVQ to Level 3 or above. The manager is still required to complete the CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test – usually the “MAP” test, which is for Managerial and Professional staff.

What to Do if You Do Not Qualify for an Exemption or Exception to the CSCS Health, Safety & EnvironmentTest

Most construction employees do need to take the CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test, in order to qualify for the correct CSCS Card. In order to apply for the test, just book online or contact Construction Support directly. You need to know which variant of the Health, Safety & Environment Test you will be taking (there are different Tests for different construction trades and positions).

When your test has been booked, you will receive confirmation of the date, location and time. If you need to reschedule, contact Construction Support Line immediately. As long as you get in touch with a minimum of three full working days to spare your reschedule will not be a problem.

I Work in HVAC, PMES or electricity. Am I exempt?

Construction employees working in HVAC, PMES, electricity or hazardous materials disposal are not exempt from the CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test. The health, safety & environment tests run by these industries are affiliated with the CSCS Test – so in effect they are the CSCS test for the trades covered thereby. Construction Support Line is able to book health, safety & environment tests for all HVAC, PMES and electrical trades. Just book online or talk with one of our agents.