From the beginning of July this year, the green Construction Site Operative (CSO) card system is changing for people wishing to enter construction jobs. Seven new green CSCS cards will be issued and eligibility for them will depend on qualifications and type of work. This is intended to improve safety by ensuring that people have the right skills for the jobs they are doing, helping them with their professional development in the construction sector. It will also make it easier for employers to be confident they are taking on capable people.

New green card for labourers.

The new green card for labourers is only available to people who have passed the level one Health and Safety in a Construction Environment QCF or SQCF award or the Site Safety Plus Health and Safety Awareness course. It needs to be renewed every five years, which requires a short test to make sure that the relevant rules and skills have not been forgotten. Applicants must also have passed the CITB Operatives Health, Safety and Environment Test no more than two years before.

Other types of CSCS card

There are five other main types of CSCS card:

  • Skilled worker.
  • Advanced craft/supervisory.
  • Manager.
  • Professionally qualified person.
  • Academically qualified person.

Each of these cards requires specific qualifications and is subject to the five-year limit described above.

There is also a temporary Experienced Worker card that enables people who have already passed the CITB Operatives Health, Safety and Environment Test to work at the appropriate skill level whilst studying for QCF or SQCF qualifications at level two or above.

How to qualify for the new card.

Labourers who need to obtain the new equivalent of the CSO card can choose one of two routes to do so.

The first currently costs just £31, and anyone experiencing difficult financial circumstances may be able to get help from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA). Spread over several days, it requires a total of 40 hours to be spent on learning that is then followed by a test. Passing this test results in a level one award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment from the QCF or SQCF. This award is permanent, with no requirement for further study, although it is still necessary to take a test every five years as noted above.

The second costs around £175 in total but is condensed into just one day of intensive learning, resulting in a Site Safety Plus Health and Safety Awareness Course certificate from the SSP. This course is the simplest choice for people who want to be able to work straight away, but it needs to be retaken in its entirety every five years before the green card can be renewed,

Course providers can be found through local colleges, professional bodies or Jobcentre Plus. A revision book and video training material are available to people about to take the tests, which involve answering multiple-choice questions using a touch-screen computer.

There is an application fee of £30 for a CSCS card.