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HS&E test and exemptions

To apply for a CSCS card you are required to pass the appropriate level of CITB Health, safety and environment (HS&E) test within the last two years.

What is the HS&E test?

The HS&E test is an important way for construction workers to show employers that they can be safe on the job. The aim of the test is to examine knowledge across a wide range of topics to improve safety and productivity on site.

The test is usually taken as a PC-based touch screen test at one of the many CITB approved test centres located throughout the UK.

Please note: The test is owned and managed by CITB (not CSCS). If you have any queries relating to the test please contact CITB directly (Tel: 0344 994 4488). 

Which type of test do I need to take?

There are different types of test and the one that is right for you depends on your occupation and the qualifications you hold. Please make sure that you sit the correct test as completing the wrong one will delay your CSCS card application.

There are 3 types of HS&E test:

  • Operative – tests for a basic level of health, safety and environmental awareness. This test is required when applying for the Labourer card, the Trainee card, the Apprentice card, most Blue Skilled Worker cards and most Gold Advanced Craft cards.
  • Manager and Professional – tests for everything in the operative test, plus additional material relevant to managers and professionals. This test is required when applying for the Black Managers card and the Academically or Professionally Qualified person cards.
  • Specialist – tests for everything in the operative test, plus additional material relating to a specialist area such as supervision or working at heights. Specialist tests are required when applying for the Gold Supervisor card, as well as Blue Skilled Worker and Gold Advanced Craft cards in certain occupations.

If you know which type of test to take, you can contact CITB to book and pay for the test online or phone CITB on 0344 994 4488.

If you are unsure which HS&E test to take, use the CSCS Card Finder.

Simply enter your occupation or qualification into Card Finder and follow the steps on the screen. Card Finder will show you which card you are eligible for and which CITB HS&E test you need to take.

How do I book the HS&E test?

You can book the test from the CITB website. The test costs £22.

If the person taking the test needs additional support e.g. accessibility or literacy, please call the CITB booking line on 0344 994 4488.

Are there any revision materials available?

Revision materials are available from most high street and online booksellers or the CITB website.

Am I exempt from doing the HS&E test?

There are currently 2 exemptions to the HS&E test requirement. You can find out more about them here.


Cards issued after 9th December 2019 will not have the gold HS&E Tested holofoil on the front of the card. The gold HS&E Tested holofoil was previously printed on the cards of applicants who applied with a valid CITB Health, Safety and Environment test. Applicants who applied with an exemption to the HS&E test received cards without the gold HS&E Tested holofoil.