To work in the construction industry in the UK you need to have a Construction Skills Certification Scheme or CSCS card to be eligible for onsite work. It was introduced by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), with the intention of reducing accidents on construction sites. It provided a means of strengthening the safety and effectiveness of UK construction sites, by ensuring that the workers hired have the necessary health and safety training. However, unfortunately fake CSCS cards have made their way into the system, which is dangerous for the industry as a whole. By knowing how to spot a fake CSCS card it will be possible to rid the system of these dangerous counterfeits, that are a threat to the quality and safety of the construction industry.
What is a CSCS card exactly?
Above mentioned was the basic function the CSCS card plays, guaranteeing that the holder has passed the health safety and environment test. The smooth and safe functioning of a construction site depends on its workers following the correct safety practices. Construction is potentially one of the most dangerous industries and the CSCS card proves that a contractor has the necessary knowledge to work according to stipulated guidelines. That has contributed greatly to the overall safety standards of the UK construction industry and reduced or mitigated fines and criminal charges regarding workplace accidents, not to mention the health of the industry workers.
But what exactly is a CSCS card? It is a certificate of proof for people hiring the workers that they are entrusting their job to qualified hands and as such can look forward to a construction done ensuring safety, quality and stability. Most construction sites and homeowners adhere to this certification of safety standards and prefer to hire CSCS card holders.
By following the below steps of elimination and checking, you should be able to spot a fake CSCS card.
What to look for:
The front of the card should have a passport size photograph of the bearer and obviously it should be of the bearer. Beware of any photographs that hide facial features with glasses and headgear.
The card should also have the name of the bearer on it and this is done according to a standard format of forenames in initials with the surname in full, with a Mr. or Ms. preceding the names.
All cards have an expiry date on them, so you can check if the date is valid and that the expiry date has not passed. Most of the CSCS cards, except for the Red CSCS card have a five year validity. The Red CSCS card is a trainee for craft and operative card and is usually only valid for three years or until the trainee course has been completed.
The card should also clearly display a valid registration number on the front. This an eight digit unique number that is issued to every individual who passes the test and is therefore entitled to be a holder of a CSCS card. If you have doubt about a number, you can call the CITB helpline to have the number verified. CITB or the Construction Industry Training Board is a non-profit company set up by the government to issue these cards.
A genuine CSCS card will contain a microchip, which contains all the necessary details regarding the card holder. These details include date of birth, current level of qualification and nationality. Via a downloadable Go Smart app you can use this microchip to authenticate the card. This is, understandably one of the easiest way to detect a fake CSCS card.
Importance of identifying fake CSCS cards
It is said that the number of fatal injuries that occur on a construction site in the UK is approximately four times higher than the national average. Unskilled workers that are unaware of health safety and environment guidelines and measures are a serious liability to the safety of the worksite and their fellow workers.
Using a fake card simply means that the person trying to use it, completely disregards the health and safety of people and compromises the structural integrity of the site, he or she is working on.
The UK is considered one of the safest countries in Europe for onsite safety and this is thanks to the CSCS card which is only issued to those who pass the health safety and environment test. To maintain the overall high standards of safety in the UK construction industry it is imperative that fake CSCS are identified and removed from circulation and the holder notified to the proper authorities.
Use the above pointers to spot a fake card and ensue that employment is given to genuine CSCS card holders, as they have the necessary qualifications and training to work on construction sites. There are a wide variety of cards available for specific roles, colour blocked for convenience and although these are not a legal requirement, a valid and up to date CSCS card gives all parties involved peace of mind.