Changes to a number of CSCS cards, relevant to new entrants and labourers, have been introduced from 1 July 2014 which will have an impact on Specialist Contractors in all sectors.

The biggest change is to the green card which has been re-launched as the Labourer card and will now only be issued to labourers and not operatives working in other occupations.

Existing green Construction Site Operative (CSO) cards will be valid until their current expiry date and the UK Contractors Group (UKCG), the representative organisation for tier one (main) contractors, has made its members aware that they should not be refusing access to site to anyone who holds a valid CSO card. For genuine labourers, they will be able to renew their cards when they expire by passing the appropriate CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test and achieving a CSCS recognised health and safety qualification, such as the QCF/SQCF Level 1 Award Health & Safety in a Construction Environment or the one-day Site Safety Plus Health & Safety Awareness Course.

CSCS has also launched two new cards for new entrants to the industry following a suggestion by NSCC member organisation, Association of Lightning and Access Specialists (ATLAS). The Provisional card is aimed at individuals on probation with an employer or undertaking supervised work experience which will enable them to work on site whilst an appropriate qualification and career path is identified based on their capabilities. To obtain the Provisional card, which will be valid for six months and is non-renewable, applicants must pass the CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test and it should be the test appropriate to the sector they intend to work in. Before the card expires, they must register for or achieve a recognised construction-related qualification and apply for the correct CSCS card for their occupation.

The new Apprentice card, which is specifically for apprentices registered on an industry-recognised apprenticeship rather than trainees, is valid for four years and is non-renewable. To help its members understand all the recent changes to CSCS cards, NSCC has published an easy to follow flowchart. It provides a unique one-page guide to the scheme which will enable Specialist Contractors to identify the right cards for their workforce whatever their level. The changes to the green card are particularly significant and, if you have operatives within your workforce holding green cards who are not labourers, you should use the NSCC flowchart to find out which is the right card for each operative.

Details of all CSCS cards and the recent changes can be found on the CSCS website.