One in five of those responsible for checking cards on construction sites have seen fake certification cards for construction workers in the past year, which means that some workers may not be qualified to do the jobs they are doing, according to a new survey published today.
The UK-wide survey of 1180 construction workers also showed that while 86% of cardholders had their cards checked, under half (43%) were checked to see if they were actually qualified to do the job.
The survey, by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) is part of a drive for construction firms to adopt new technology which will make it quicker and easier to identify fraudsters.
All 1.4 million CSCS cards have microchip technology embedded in them, which allows a site manager access to a wealth of information about each worker, including their qualifications.
Despite the availability of new technology, 69% of respondents said they were still checking cards using a paper-based system, with only 6% using smart technology.
Braden Connolly, Head of Product Management at CITB, said:
“Producing or using cards fraudulently can constitute a criminal offence. Increased action is needed to stamp out the fraudsters, which is why we are calling on industry to adopt new technology to help tackle this problem. CITB will continue to share intelligence and work with the authorities wherever the evidence suggests criminal activity is taking place.”
CSCS Chief Executive Graham Wren said:
“Thorough card checks must be carried out before allowing workers on site and employers need to ensure workers have the correct qualifications for the work they do. More and more people are realising technology, such as a CSCS Smartcard, is a simple and cost-effective way to do this.
By simply placing the card into a reader or compatible device such as a tablet or smart phone you can instantly check the validity of a card and the qualifications held by the card holder.
There is still a lot of work to be done to increase the use of technology so that relying on visual card checks becomes a thing of the past.”
Worker using fake CSCS cards receives prison sentence
It has also been reported by Construction Manager that the issue of faked cards has been underlined by a prosecution concluded at Isleworth Crown Court, west London.
Isaac Agyekun of London, was charged with several card fraud offences. He pleaded guilty and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.
The case followed an incident on 17 February at the Westfield shopping centre site in Shepherd’s Bush, when a site manager became suspicious that three people on the site had produced fake CSCS cards.
The manager called the CITB fraud investigator who advised him to call the police involved as the three individuals were still on site. One of the men, later identified as Agyekun, was found and arrested, and later found to be in possession of a number of other fake CSCS cards.