Accreditation Schemes; Why are they needed?
Many people often ask me why they need to sign up to industry accreditation schemes; when they are already fully qualified and trained professionals, in their field. It’s a valid question, given how hard these individuals have studied and trained to become the skilled, competent operators they are.
Industry accreditation schemes are not implying that skilled workers are not adequately trained. The schemes exist to aid other companies to select and verify the training of their subcontractors. It enables businesses to efficiently manage their due diligence and know those they select to work on site have suitable qualifications and that these qualifications have been checked and verified. Accreditation schemes make it quicker and easier for companies managing large sites or multiple sites to check the competencies and training of their workforce.
The two main types of accreditation scheme I am often asked about are the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) and The Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS). There is no legal requirement for a CSCS card or CHAS registration. The requirement for a CSCS card or CHAS accreditation will be a decision made by the client.
So, what is the difference between CSCS and CHAS? CSCS is a construction industry scheme, and more applicable to those working on construction sites. It also applies to individuals and not companies. Each CSCS card issued is issued to an individual and can be used by only that individual. They have a number of different levels of card, each a different colour to distinguish the level of experience. The current cards available are:
- Green – Labourer
- Red – Apprentice, Experienced Technical Supervisor or Manager, Experienced Worker, and Trainee
- Blue – Skilled Worker
- Gold – Advanced Craft or Supervisory
- Black – Manager
- White – Academically Qualified Person or Professionally Qualified Person
- Yellow – Construction Site Visitor
CHAS looks at accrediting contractors not only working in construction and is for businesses rather than individuals. It is often used by companies to prequalify their contractors. It requires completion of a questionnaire and submission of your company health and safety management system including training records to demonstrate you have a working, implemented and effective health and safety management system. An assessor will also look to visit your workplace to see your health and safety management system in practice. CHAS also offers CHAS Business Shield to all of it’s members, free of charge. Included in this is a support line for health and safety or environmental issues.
Both CSCS and CHAS accreditation schemes can be immensely beneficial to individuals and businesses. More information on CSCS and CHAS can be found on their websites:
Ultimately, the decision on whether you wish to join a certification scheme, and which scheme(s) to join will largely depend on your client requirements and how you wish to operate. However, there are other benefits of joining an accreditation scheme, and working on jobs where accreditation schemes are required. Accreditation schemes allow you to know that the client is serious about safety and doing the job right. You know you're working on site with other suitably skilled workers, thus reducing your risk. Another advantage of working with clients who require accreditation schemes is that you are less likely to be undercut by an uninsured or unqualified person or business when quoting for work on jobs requiring accreditation schemes.
If you need help with your accreditation scheme applications or any part of your health and safety management system, contact us to find out how we can help you: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01843 6399711.