Due to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) CITB have made the decision to temporarily close their test centres across the country from Friday 20th March. This means that all Health & Safety Touchscreen Tests will be cancelled with immediate affect. CITB have assured customers that they will be monitoring the situation on a weekly basis.
What does this mean for CSCS?
The full impact of COVID-19 on CSCS card applications is yet unknown.
However, we should prepare for the fact that construction workers will struggle to find availability to sit the test and the likelihood that the remaining test centres will also close until the spread of the virus is under control.
Those new to the industry may be unable to apply for cards as they cannot sit the test or undertake training/qualifications relevant for the card they require. Also the number of expired cards circulating in the industry will increase as existing card holders cannot renew their cards without resitting the test.
This could lead to genuine construction workers being turned away from site as they do not hold a CSCS card or their existing card has expired.
What steps are CSCS taking?
CSCS are requesting employers and those responsible for site access and card checking procedures to use their discretion towards workers whose cards have expired since mid-March onward and who can provide evidence that they have been unable to sit their test or undertake the required training as a result of the closure of Test/Training centres.
CSCS has extended the grace period for card renewals from 6 months after the card expires to 12 months. This means that the card can be renewed, once the CITB H,S&E test has been passed, up to one year from the card’s expiry date.
What does this mean for employers?
Employers should expect their workers to hold a valid CSCS card as proof of their training and qualifications. However, until COVID-19 is brought under control CSCS are asking the industry to support these temporary measures.