If you’ve got a CSO card you need to be making a plan

You are probably aware that in July CSCS stopped issuing green Construction Site Operative (CSO) cards.

CSO cards were commonly viewed as the easiest card to obtain and, although they were intended for workers in Labouring occupations, are held by a large cross section of the industry’s workforce, from Labourers and Skilled Workers to Site Managers and Professionals. This means many site workers carrying out skilled occupations currently hold the wrong type of card for their job.

This has led to confusion over whether CSCS cards are site passports, health and safety cards or competency cards. A CSCS card is none of these.  A CSCS card certifies the individual has achieved relevant qualifications and training. All workers on construction sites should hold the correct qualifications and training for the type of work they carry out.Holding the wrong card makes it difficult for contractors to check site workers’ qualifications and training.

As workers’ CSO cards expire, cardholders or their employers have to decide which card they should apply for.  CSO card holders who do not have the required qualifications to apply for a Skilled card can apply for a Provisional card.  However, this option is only available to CSO card holders until January 31st 2015.

The Provisional card only lasts for six months and is not renewable. Before it expires Provisional cardholders must achieve or be registered for a recognised construction related qualification appropriate to their job.

So, if you or any of your employees have CSO cards, check their expiry date and ensure you have a plan in place to renew the card that includes achieving the required qualifications.

CSCS Chief Executive Graham Wren says:  “These are still early days, however industry is adapting well to the new requirements. Over 5,000 labourers have achieved a qualification and obtained the new CSCS Labourer card. However, since July 1st 18,000 people have been issued with a Provisional card and it is important they understand their options when their card expires after six months. We are working hard to ensure that Provisional card holders know they must get qualified if they wish to obtain a Skilled card.  CSO card holders need to be clear on the options available and make sure they put the necessary plans in place in good time.”

If you are unsure what to do next, the best course of action is to check CSCS’ cardfinder.  You simply select your occupation and the cardfinder will tell you what qualifications you should have, which CSCS card you should apply for and which CITB Health, Safety and Environment test you should take.