Concerns have been raised due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) impacting CSCS’s ability to issue cards to first-time applicants or those wishing to renew their card prior to expiry due to workers struggling to find availability to sit the HS&E Test. It remains a key requirement for all applications (new or renewal) that the applicant has passed the relevant CITB Health, safety and environment (HS&E) test within the last 2 years.
Currently it remains possible to book the CITB HS&E test, but capacity is restricted
However, as a result of COVID restrictions many test centres are limited in the number of tests they can deliver and are subject to temporarily closures until the spread of the virus is under control.
This is creating concerns for those trying to renew and for 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
CSCS have recognised that these restrictions may impact on the industry’s ability to register and renew CSCS card and as a consequence the organisation have:
STEP 1: Implemented an extended renewal period for cards, ‘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.
STEP 2: Requested 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
CSCS have issued the following statement: “We are in unprecedented times. 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 we 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.”
We strongly advise to persevere with booking a Health. Safety and Environment test in order to renew, the quickest method in by using the online application for CSCS card process here.
You can also visit the CITB website regarding the actions they are taking around the availability of the HS&E test and other industry training.
See full updates from FIS on the COVID-19 crisis on our daily updated page here