What is a CSCS Card – And Why Do I Need One?

What is a CSCS Card – And Why Do I Need One?

A building site can be a very dangerous place to work. There are many potential hazards at even the smallest of construction areas and the accidents that occur can sometimes be fatal. In fact, a construction worker is six times more likely to be killed while working than workers in any other industry. According to the Health and Safety Executive there were 120 fatal injuries to construction workers in the UK in the year 1990/1. In order to reduce the numbers of injuries and fatalities on construction sites, the government introduced a scheme which ensures that all construction workers have the necessary skills to work on a site and have demonstrated an understanding of health and safety issues. (image credit: www.thetimes.co.uk)

The Construction Skills and Certification Scheme was implemented in 1995, and it works to increase on-site skills and efficiency as well as reducing the number of accidents. The scheme has had a positive impact on health and safety awareness in the building industry, and by 2011 the number of fatalities which occurred at a construction site had fallen to 50 – still a long way to go, but nevertheless a marked improvement on the 1990 figures. The UK currently has the second lowest amount of construction fatalities per year in Europe.

What is a CSCS Card?

CSCS CardCovering over 220 fields of construction specialisms, anyone who is working on a building site, no matter what their specific role, ought to be in possession of a CSCS card which proves their competence and understanding of health and safety issues.

In order to get a CSCS card and be added to the database of approved construction operatives, you must complete the application form, pass a Health, Safety & Environment test and then pass the CSCS test.

CSCS Card Application

CSCS Card ApplicationThere are different kinds of CSCS card (see below for more details) and the type of work you do and your level of experience and professional standing will dictate which kind of card you should apply for. You will also need to apply for a Health, Safety & Environment test and again there are alternative versions of this test according to expertise and professional standing. To find out more about CSCS card application and Health & Safety tests visit the website of the Health & Safety Executive for more details, or alternatively you can call on 0844 576 8777.

CSCS Card Training

Depending on the type of card you need, CSCS card training comes in different forms. The five main types of CSCS card are red, green, blue, gold and black.

A red card is for a trainee, usually someone who is working in construction while attending a further education college or studying for an NVQ or SVQ. The green card is given to workers with non-specific skills, such as labourers. To get one you must have passed an NVQ level 1 as well as the Health, Safety & Environment test. Blue cards are for skilled workers who have completed a level 2 NVQ/SVQ or an employer sponsored City & Guilds qualification and the Health, Safety & Environment test. The gold card is for skilled workers and supervisors who have a level 3 NVQ/SVQ or an indentured apprenticeship, and have passed a Health, Safety & Environment test relevant to their specialism.

CSCS Card Training

The black card is for managers, a level 4 NVQ/SVQ is necessary plus a Managerial and Professional Health, Safety & Environment test. (image credit: www.bridgwater.ac.uk)

There are also white, grey and yellow cards which are for people who work in professional bodies, or are in an occupation related to construction, or are regular visitors to building sites in a professional capacity.

CSCS Card Test

The CSCS card test takes the form of multiple choice questions on a touch screen computer. The precise nature of the test will depend on the type of card being applied for. A period of forty-five minutes is allotted to take the test, but the test-taker can leave as soon as they have finished. Test centres are located all over the country, you will be able to find out the location of your nearest centre when you make your application. When you take the test, you will need to bring with you your booking confirmation number and some passport photos which will be used on the card itself.

CSCS Card Cost

builder with cscs card
According to the Health & Safety Executive, the CSCS card cost is currently £30, to be paid with a credit or debit card.

Once you have gained your CSCS card, you can be considered fit and able to work on a building site. Everyone with a CSCS card is added to the database of approved construction workers. There are currently in excess of 1.7 million people on the database, which is testament to the importance with which the building industry at large regards health and safety. (image source: www.heritagecraftalliance.co.uk)