Following successful completion of a pilot scheme, CSCS has announced plans to launch a new qualification specifically for site labourers. The new Level 1 qualification is designed to demonstrate the holder’s knowledge relating to common risks to safety on construction sites.
As with all of the CSCS cards, the new Level 1 qualification has been created with the assistance of industry experts and professional bodies to ensure that the skills assessed meet the requirements of the construction industry. Holders of the Level 1 card can demonstrate to employers that they have the basic knowledge required to work safely on a construction site.
Replacing the CSO green card
The new Level 1 qualification will replace the CSO card which was found to be flawed in its current state. Although perfectly adequate for proving basic site safety knowledge, some experienced contractors were abusing the system.
These skilled workers were applying for CSO cards to gain access to sites, but failing to secure the higher level CSCS qualification provided for their abilities and roles. Employers found themselves with a dilemma – contractors could prove they had the necessary qualifications to access a site, but not necessarily to carry out higher-level tasks.
This ambiguity meant that the CSCS cards were not providing the safeguards employers expected.
The new Level 1 CSO qualification will only be available to site labourers. In future other construction site workers will need to obtain the correct card for their roles or face being turned away from sites. They will also be unable to perform any duties other than labouring if they do not hold the correct credentials for their role.
What does the new Level 1 qualification involve?
The CSO green card is issued based on the holder’s understanding of common health and safety risks on a construction site. Applicants will need to be able to prove that they hold either a QCF/SCQF Level 1 Award for “Health and Safety in a Construction Environment” or have completed the one day “Site Safety Plus Health and Safety Awareness Course”.
Labourers applying for a new green card will also have to complete the CITB Operatives Health, Safety and Environment test within two years of their card being issued.
The CSCS green card changeover
The new green CSCS card will replace the existing CSO card on July 1st. Existing CSO cards will remain valid until the current expiry date printed on them. Construction workers who have been exploiting the current green card loophole will need to apply for the correct card at their next renewal date – use the CSCS card finder tool to learn which is the correct one for you.
The good news for employers is that the new Level 1 CSCS green card should help ensure contractors are suitably qualified to mitigate health and safety risks associated with their roles.
Do you need a Green CSCS Card? First you need to Book your CSCS Card test
Has your business been affected by workers using the wrong CSCS cards? How do you deal with instances of abuse?