CSCS card applications and COVID 19
As some HS&E test centres across the UK close keep up to date with CSCS news
A key requirement for all applications (new or renewal) is proof that the applicant has passed the relevant CITB Health, safety and environment (HS&E) test within the last 2 years.
In a statement made on 17 March 2020, CITB confirmed that Pearson Vue HS&E test centres across the UK would temporarily close starting Friday 20 March 2020 until further notice. At that time CITB were not closing the Independent Test Centre (ITC) network and would continue to work with these centres to ensure adequate precautionary measures are put in place to protect staff and candidates.
Please visit the CITB website regarding the actions they are taking around the availability of the HS&E test.
What does this mean for CSCS?
Some construction workers will struggle to find availability to sit the test and the likelihood that the remaining test centres will also close until the spread of the virus is under control.
Those new to the industry may be unable to apply for cards as they cannot sit the test or undertake training/qualifications relevant for the card they require. Also, the number of expired cards circulating in the industry will increase as existing card holders cannot renew their cards without resitting the test.
This could lead to genuine construction workers being turned away from site as they do not hold a CSCS card or their existing card has expired.
What steps are CSCS taking?
In recognition that COVID-19 will prevent some construction workers from meeting CSCS’s card application requirements, CSCS are asking the industry to support the following temporary measures:
- Requesting employers and those responsible for site access and card checking procedures to use their discretion towards workers whose cards have expired since mid-March onward and who can provide evidence that they have been unable to sit their test or undertake the required training as a result of the closure of Test/Training centres.
This is at the employer’s discretion until the situation has stabilised.
- CSCS has extended the grace period for card renewals from 6 months after the card expires to 12 months. This means that the card can be renewed, once the CITB HS&E test has been passed, up to one year from the card’s expiry date.
This will assist those applicants struggling to find availability to sit the test and renew their card.
Employers should expect their workers to hold a valid CSCS card as proof of their training and qualifications. However, until COVID-19 is brought under control CSCS are asking the industry to support these temporary measures.
CSCS will continue to monitor the situation and where necessary introduce further proactive measures to limit the impact on CSCS applicants and the wider industry.