BESA: Site managers must accept expired SKILLcards during COVID-19

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Construction site managers must show leniency towards staff with expired SKILLcards, says the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), as operatives are unable to sit their tests

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has joined calls for construction site managers to show leniency towards staff with expired SKILLcards, because operatives are unable to sit their tests due to the closure of testing centres to help stem the outbreak of COVID-19.

This follows the recent CSCS statement which asked employers and those responsible for site access to use their discretion towards workers whose cards have expired since mid-March onward.

The CSCS statement said so long as they can provide evidence that they have been unable to sit their Health, Safety & Environment test or undertake the required training due to closures of test/raining centres, expired cards should be accepted.

It stated: “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 cardholders 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.”

Temporary measures

BESA head of certification, Duncan Sibbald, said: “This is a temporary measure to deal with workers not being able to meet the usual SKILLcard application requirements due to the pandemic.

“SKILLcard will continue to provide assistance to SKILLcard holders and site managers faced with this exact scenario by being able to confirm the validity of the SKILLcard in question.”

Sibbald said site managers seeking advice should call the SKILLcard helpline on 01768 860 406.

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