20th November Journal Column

APS Black logo 2015By Phillippa Webb, Associate CK21 and NE Chair of Association of Project Safety (APS)

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) announced last month that there will no longer be a grace period of six months for the Site Safety Plus Scheme. So what does this mean, and what does it mean for the industry?
Well, considering the CITB updated the Site Safety Plus rules following customer feedback, it seems this is something the industry wanted.
The Site Safety Plus Scheme provides the building, civil engineering and allied industries with a range of courses for people wanting to develop their skills in this area.

The courses range from a one-day Health and Safety Awareness course to the five-day Site Management Safety Training Scheme, and everything else in between. There is currently a six month grace period between the expiry date of a certificate and the date needed to attend a refresher course, but come the new year that’s all about to change.

After 31 December 2015, the removal of the grace period means you must attend a refresher course before the end date on your safety certificate. Let’s hope you all have good memories, because failure to attend the refresher before the certificate expires means you are required to attend the full course again, so you must be aware of the expiry date on your certificate.
But don’t fret, Cskills Awards have given us a little time to adjust to this change, but come 1 January no registrations will be made that are beyond the end date of the certificate without formal appeal.

That being said, if your certificate has expired, or you are within six months of expiry, you should attend a refresher course before the end of the year – and considering we’re half way through November that’s not much time at all.
The grace period for the Site Safety Plus scheme has been removed to bring the scheme in line with other Cskills Awards products.
The revised Scheme Rules and associated course appendices are available to download from the Site Safety Plus page on the Cskills Awards website.
For me, the removal of the grace period isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Having a grace period in place plays down the importance of having an up-to-date safety certificate, there is less urgency to attend the refresher course. At least this way we know safety certificates will always be up-to-date, and skills are constantly being refreshed. It can’t do any harm to update and refresh your skills, in fact when it comes to health and safety it will do quite the opposite.