BSRIA has announced that it is in support of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) announcement that Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) cards have been revoked after an investigation into fraudulent activity at five test centres showed more than four thousand construction workers paid cash to pass the test.
Construction workers across the UK are required to hold a CSCS card to prove skills and a grasp of health and safety. Nine of the UK's ten biggest construction companies demand them, as do Crossrail and Heathrow.
The CITB has revoked 4,615 cards after it carried out an extensive investigation – prompted by an exposé broadcast on BBC Newsnight – which found fraudulent activity in centres where candidates were taking tests accredited by both the CITB and the British Safety Council.
In October, BSRIA expressed concern at the revelation that construction safety exams were rigged following the disclosure that the flagship scheme for certifying builders being called into question after a string of test centres were caught fixing health and safety exams. Back then, the BBC Newsnight investigation revealed that workers were paying cash to card training scheme supervisors to help them pass the test. Subsequently, the CSCS wrote to all affected cardholders in November to tell them that they needed to retake their health, safety and environment test.
Those affected were asked to register by 20 December 2015, or risk their CSCS card being cancelled. A total of 5,480 of the individuals affected did not register to retake their test, meaning their test result is now void. From the individuals who already used their test result to obtain a CSCS card, 4,615 have been revoked, while the remaining 553 candidates have until 14 February to successfully take their test before their cards are revoked.
Julia Evans, chief executive for BSRIA, said: “Last October, when this story broke, BSRIA said that construction is the UK's most dangerous employment sector and in the past five years alone, 221 workers have died. As an industry, we've set our stall on the CSCS card being the minimum benchmark to accept workers on to our sites. This scheme has to be trusted. BSRIA’s members demand best practice for the industry where its workforce must be safe. This exposure is clearly unacceptable.
Industry health and safety and compliance must be adhered to all times. We do feel for those whose livelihoods will be disrupted, but the bottom line is that workers must be safe.”