The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) is the industry’s largest certification program in the UK. It covers 220 occupations that include technical, trades, supervisors, and managers. In order to be able to carry CSCS cards that prove competency, candidates must pass the CSCS tests for health, safety, and environment that are approved by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)-Construction Skills.
The original purpose for developing this certification scheme in the 1990s was to reduce construction accidents and increase efficiency and productivity. This has been accomplished by verifying skill levels and increasing safety awareness. The CITB hopes that employers will view the safety test as just the beginning of a longer term, more comprehensive safety plan.
Health, Safety, and Environment Test
The CSCS Card tests itself sounds straightforward enough and lasts only 45 minutes. The 50 multiple choice questions include 12 behavioural case study questions and 38 knowledge questions about health, safety, and the environment. However, there are three versions of the CSCS tests, each one designed for a different trade or profession.
- Operative. This test includes the behavioural case studies and multiple choice questions on the five core knowledge areas of legal and management, health and welfare, general safety, high risk activities, and environment.
- Specialist. This test includes six knowledge questions about the specialist activity. This might be supervisory, demolition, plumbing or gas, highway works, work at heights, lifts and escalators, tunnelling, heating and plumbing services, pipefitting and welding, ductwork, refrigeration and air conditioning, or services and facilities maintenance.
- Manager and professional. This includes both the case studies and knowledge questions specific to management and various professional positions.
The candidate must prepare for the right CSCS test as the questions are specific to his particular line of work. The case study questions are based on three situations a worker might be faced with that could compromise the safety of the construction job. The four multiple choice questions about each situation are designed to test the appropriateness of the responses.
Although all the questions are based on UK legislation, there is still room to review and update the safety test both in content and format. For example, new knowledge questions on respiratory risks and a new specialist test for tunnelling were incorporated in April 2012. This continual refreshing of questions and expectations has enhanced the validity of the test and the entire scheme of CSCS cards.
Preparation for the CSCS Test
Anyone taking the health, safety, and environment test should take the time and make the effort for serious preparation. There is a range of of revision material available on CDs, DVDs, and print publications.
- “Health, safety and the environment test”. This CSCS Test Revision book contains everything a candidate needs to know to do well on the test including a transcript of the film, “Setting out”, that outlines the principles on which the case study questions are based.
- Revision DVD. This provides an opportunity to review the entire set of questions and to practice with simulated tests.
- Supporting publications. CITB-Construction Skills recommends “Safe start” for operatives or “Construction site safety” for managers.
- “Site Safety First” training course. This CSCS training can run from one to five days depending on the specialty.
It is important for the candidate to choose the correct version of any of this material as it is available either for operatives and specialists or managers and professionals.
Taking the CSCS Test
The candidate should arrive at the test site at least 15 minutes early with his confirmation letter and photo identification. Without this documentation, the candidate will not be allowed to take the test. Everyone is assigned a computer to use for the test. There is a tutorial at the beginning for those who are not confident about their technological skills. Candidates who take the time to prepare thoroughly will have no problem with successfully completing the CSCS tests.
I’m interested, whats my next step
To book your CSCS Tests and get a CSCS Card call Veritas Consulting 0800 1488 677 or visit their website http://www.veritas-consulting.co.uk/CSCS-Card-Test-Booking-Form.html