GMB Supports Construction Skills Certification Scheme Action To Recall 6,000 Safety Cards That May Have Been Obtained By Fraud
BBC investigation revealed widespread and organised cheating offering guaranteed passes for cash allowing untrained builders on to dangerous sites and this has to be dealt with says GMB.
GMB, the union for construction workers, commented on the statement by Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) on the recent announcement by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to recall 6,000 Health, Safety and Environment Tests (HS&E) cards. See notes to editors for copy of statement by Construction Skills Certification Scheme dated 9th November 2015.
Phil Whitehurst, GMB National Officer for Construction, said “Since 1995 construction workers across the UK are required to hold a CSCS card to prove skills and grasp of health and safety.
Last month a BBC investigation found that numerous test centres offered guaranteed passes for cash thereby enabling workers lacking language skills to obtain qualifications. The investigation revealed widespread and organised cheating which allowed untrained builders on to dangerous sites.
Even though we should not have been in this position in the first place GMB fully supports the positive steps being taken by CITB & CSCS following the BBC expose regarding the fraudulent issuing of CSCS cards.
CITB & CSCS have investigated all the allegations and have now recalled 6,000 cards. The recipients will now have to re- test. While many of the 6,000 will be innocent parties the risk to health and safety on sites from those who have fraudulently obtained cards has to be eliminated.
To reinforce the stringent measures now being taken by CITB & CSCS to regain confidence in the CSCS card, the employers themselves must make sure that all workers entering their sites are checked through the relevant channels with CITB & CSCS. They should not just take at face value a card being presented which has been the case previously by so many employers.”
Contact: Phil Whitehurst 07968 338810 or GMB 020 7391 6700 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823.
Notes to editors
Copy of statement by Construction Skills Certification Scheme dated 9th November 2015
BBC fraud investigation: CSCS confirms cards at risk of cancellation
Following the recent announcement by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to recall 6,000 Health, Safety and Environment Tests (HS&E), CSCS has made the following statement:
CSCS fully supports CITB’s decision to recall the HS&E Tests identified by their investigation.
Passing the CITB HS&E Test is a key requirement to obtaining a CSCS card. Following CITB’s announcement CSCS is writing to the affected 6,000 card holders to confirm their CSCS card is at risk of cancellation.
In order for the CSCS card to remain valid cardholders must register to retake the CITB HS&E test within one month and complete the test within three months.
Failure to complete either of these steps will result in the immediate and permanent cancellation of the CSCS card.
CSCS accepts many of the 6,000 cardholders will not have taken part in fraudulent activity, however to retain the support and confidence of industry and avoid any doubt all the card holders contacted by CITB will be required to retake the test.
All retests will be taken at centres operated by Pearson VUE and are bookable through the CITB website. CITB will issue vouchers to cover the cost of retesting.
The CITB have established a dedicated helpline on 0344 994 4053 for those that may have been affected by this decision.
It is essential the construction industry continues to have confidence in the CSCS scheme. The decision taken by the CITB to withdraw the tests ensures employers can rely on the information contained on the CSCS card and that the system is effective in tackling those who take part in fraudulent activity.
Employers are asked to check the validity of CSCS cards either by using the Smart technology contained within the card, or using the Check a Card facility on the CSCS website.
CSCS continues to liaise closely with the British Safety Council (BSC) in relation to the Level One Award qualification identified by the BBC investigation. Passing the Level One Award is a key requirement to obtaining a CSCS Labourer card. The BSC are conducting their own investigation and when further information becomes available CSCS will take the appropriate action in conjunction with the BSC.
Our aim is to ensure the CSCS card remains a valuable and credible tool in ensuring workers have the necessary training and qualifications to carry out their jobs. CSCS remains confident the vast majority of the two million CSCS cards issued to date are as a result of obtaining a qualification legitimately.