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100% carded is not always 100% right

Posted: 16th June 2017

The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) is challenging the industry to stop turning away non-construction related workers without CSCS cards.

Most people are familiar with the role CSCS cards perform in improving standards and safety on construction sites. However, not everyone realises that those people attending site to perform a non-construction related occupation should not be expected to carry a card.

CSCS Head of Communications Alan O’Neile said: “CSCS cards are intended for construction related occupations only. Due to the wide range of skills required on construction projects, there are times when a worker arrives on site to perform a non-construction related activity, for example catering staff, delivering materials or cleaners. These individuals do not require a CSCS card and CSCS has stopped issuing cards for these and many other non-construction related occupations.”

Despite this some construction sites still operate a 100% carded workforce policy. The policy is often reinforced in client’s prequalification documents or by head office insisting all workers and visitors to site should carry a CSCS card.

Alan O’Neile added: “The rigid enforcement of a 100% carded workforce results in legitimate, non-construction related, workers being refused entry to site as they do not hold a card. This indicates a misunderstanding of the scheme and undermines the construction industry’s desire for a fully qualified (not carded) workforce.”

This approach is supported by the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) announcement (via the Industrial Strategy: Construction 2025) that skills certification card schemes carrying the CSCS logo must only certify those occupations with nationally recognised construction related qualifications, or approved equivalents.

The move away from a 100% carded workforce will see an increase in the numbers of individuals turning up to site without a card.

Alan O’Neile continued: “We are not asking site managers to allow just anyone on site. If a worker is there to carry out a construction related activity then a card is required as proof of their training and qualifications. If they are there to perform a non-construction related activity it becomes the responsibility of site managers to induct and escort these people to ensure they remain safe at all times when on site.

The decision not to issue CSCS cards for non-construction related occupations is seen as a practical step towards achieving the CLC’s requirements and ensures cards are only issued to those who are working towards, or have already achieved, a nationally recognised construction related qualification.

For further information on this issue and details of occupations that do not require a CSCS card, visit