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Why has the Construction Site Operative (CSO) card been changed to the Labourer card?

The green Construction Site Operative (CSO) card was introduced for entry level workers and simply required applicants to pass the Health, Safety and Environment test and for their employer to sign their application form to say they were carrying out “labouring duties only”.  In reality, however, many site workers who carry out skilled occupations had been applying for the green CSO card as the easiest route to gain access to construction sites.  This made it difficult for contractors to use CSCS cards as a reliable method of checking that site workers have the appropriate skills to work on construction sites safely and effectively.  So it was important for this situation to be addressed.

Why do labourers now have to do a training course?

Industry feedback told us that it is vital that labourers have a good working knowledge of the most common risks to safety on construction sites today.  To achieve this there needs to be consistency of training and assessment.  The new Level 1 knowledge based Award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment qualification and equivalents recognised by CSCS ensure that labourers are aware of the following: assessing risk, manual handling, working at height, work around plant and equipment and risks to health.

Where can I go for the Level 1 Award Health & Safety in a Construction Environment?

You can talk to your local training provider or college to find out if they are offering this new course.  Or click on these links to view Training Centres approved by Cskills Awards (now NOCN)   City & Guilds (click on Find a Centre) and Pearson.

I passed my Health, Safety & Environment test before July 1st, can I still apply for a Construction Site Operative (CSO) card?

No.  Applications for the CSO card were only accepted up to June 30th 2014.  After this date card applicants have to meet the requirements for the Labourer card or an alternative card appropriate for their occupation.

One Contractor is stating that they will not allow CSO green card holders on site unless they have passed the Site Safety Plus Operative Test.    Is this a CSCS requirement?

No – The current green Construction Site Operative (CSO) card remains valid until its expiry date. From 1st July 2014 the CSO card is no longer being issued and has been replaced by the new green Labourer card.  To obtain this new Labourer card, applicants need to pass the new Level 1 Award Health and Safety in a Construction Environment or a recognised equivalent. The one day Site Safety Plus (SSP) Operatives training course has been recognised as an equivalent. There is no requirement to achieve both the new Health and Safety in a Construction Environment Award AND the one day SSP Operatives training course to obtain the new Labourer card. If you are aware of any contractor requiring both, please advise CSCS and we will investigate further.

CSCS cards confirm that card holders have achieved a minimum standard of appropriate training.  Some contractors may require workers on their sites to have achieved a higher standard for certain occupations before they allow entry to site. You are advised to check any specific requirements.

Is either the SMSTS or the SSSTS recognised as an equivalent to the Level 1 Award Health and Safety in a Construction Environment?

No. These courses do not cover the same content as the new award even though they are longer in duration than the one day Site Safety Plus Operative course.  The SMSTS and SSSTS are aimed at site managers and supervisors and their content reflects this.

I employ Labourers who are sometimes asked to supervise sites.  Which CSCS card should they hold?

Anyone being asked to supervise on a construction site should hold the CSCS gold card.  See here for further information.  If a site worker has not achieved the  qualifications needed to apply for the gold card then the red Experienced Technical Supervisory or Manager card should be considered.  See here for further information.

Is the Health and Safety in a Construction Environment Award available in other languages for those whose first language is not English?

The new award is regulated by Ofqual and is therefore assessed in English, Welsh or Gaelic.  If you need advice on the delivery of the new award in different languages we recommend you contact your local training provider for advice.

How much will training and assessment for the new Health and Safety in a Construction Environment Award cost?

The cost of delivering the new award will depend on your previous experience. Total cost for delivery comprises pre-assessment, training and award assessment. For experienced Labourers the majority are likely to be pre-assessed by your training provider and move on to award assessment with no, or very little, need for further training. We recommend you contact your training provider who will advise on the amount of training required following a pre-assessment. Remember, if you have a valid certificate for the one day Site Safety Plus Operative training course you already qualify for the new Labourer card if you have also passed the CITB Operatives Health, Safety & Environment test within the past two years.

CSCS recognises the one day Site Safety Plus Health and Safety Awareness course as an equivalent to the Level 1 Award Health & Safety in a Construction Environment.  Where can I take this course?

There is a list of training providers here.