Before the construction industry adopted the CSCS Card as a standard measure of competence there was no real way of being sure that the workers coming onto your site were qualified to do the work. Once the Card really took off (the industry started taking the Scheme seriously around 2001, just after the Deputy Prime Minister’s Review), site owners and construction firms realised that they were able to employ with greater guarantees of competence.
More assured competence meant two things: one, that the workers coming onto your site (from skilled worker to works manager) were genuinely able to do the job; and two, that the quality of your work was likely to be at a higher level. With the CSCS Card guaranteeing a certain level of competence from every worker, the overall quality of jobs completed by site workers rose – and so the popularity of the card was assured.
Health and Safety and the CSCS Card
One of the overriding advantages of the Card is its insistence on the completion of a standard health, safety & environment test. There are 13 variations of the CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test, all of which have been arranged to make sure that workers are health and safety savvy for the work their card allows them to do. With each CSCS Card allowing a worker to perform a specified range of onsite tasks, the Test has been directed to ensure that the holder of a card also holds the right safety knowledge.
Holding a current Card means that you are guaranteed to have qualified in the right CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test – another reason for the Card’s overall popularity.
How Many Sites Require a CSCS Card?
More than a decade since the original industry drive to get the Card recognised as a measure of overall competence, around 80% of British construction sites require all workers to hold one. There are exemptions but they are few and far between, and you should never assume that you are one of them. If you’re in any doubt about whether or not you need a CSCS Card, ask Construction Support Line on 0203 051 1004. Remember, too, that when your job responsibilities change or you achieve new qualifications, you’ll need to apply for the relevant new Card to replace your old one.
Technology and the CSCS Card
Since 2010, the Card has been fully automated in the same way that a Chip and PIN bank card is. All of your details – your name, your qualifications, your photo and your CSCS approved areas of competence – are electronically stored in a chip on your Card. Site supervisors and managers can see your competences and qualifications at a glance: and now your photo is stored with the chip they can make sure that you are the original holder of the CSCS Card. For them, that means a securer site and less chance of unqualified workers using faked or stolen cards to get work.
The Card has proved so popular so quickly because it works. It’s simple and it allows sites all over the country to control the quality and safety of their work, quickly and easily.