A CSCS card is available under the Construction Skills Card Scheme and is widely recognised as indicating competence and the ability to work safely on a construction site. In many cases, a valid CSCS card is required to enable the holder to gain access to a site.
The CCNSG Safety Passport, however, is provided through the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) and also demonstrates that the holder can work safely. This can cause some confusion because workers aren’t always sure whether they need a CSCS card, a CCNSG Safety Passport or even if they need both.
CSCS Cards for General Construction
The CSCS card is provided for workers in the construction industry generally, although there are affiliated cards that cover different trades. The CCNSG Safety Passport is specifically for those who work in the engineering construction industry. Consequently, the one you require for a particular site may depend on your job and the individual site operator. As a general rule, you’re usually better with a specialised card that reflects what you actually do rather than a more generalised version.
Each of the schemes has an obvious safety element and the award of a CSCS card requires the applicant to pass a Health, Safety & Environment Test or have a qualification that provides the equivalent. The test is taken on a touch screen PC and involves the answering of a number of multiple-choice questions that are taken at random from an available range. The CCNSG Safety Passport, however, involves a two-day training course and a test at the end of it.
Because of the different training requirements, there is no general affiliation with the various CSCS card schemes. An exception is the Assuring Competence in Engineering Construction (ACE) card scheme, with the cards generally requiring applicants to have a valid CCNSG Safety Passport and CSCS affiliation is dependent on Construction NVQ attainment.
CCNSG Safety Passport Renewal
In general, both the CSCS card and the CCNSG Safety Passport expire after three years and have to be renewed. At that point, you will need to prove your health and safety knowledge is up-to-date. This will require you to resit the Health, Safety & Environment Test for a CSCS card or to undertake the training again for a CCNSG Safety Passport.
However, this is limited to a one-day renewal course if taken within three months of expiry, otherwise the full two-day course must be retaken.