CPCS amendments

By Alex Dahm21 July 2009

Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) in the UK will make industry-led changes to the CPCS scheme to increase its flexibility.

CPCS was revised a year ago in response to industry requirements and to fit in with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulation Approved Code of Practice (CDM ACoP). Following consultation with industry bodies, for example, Construction Plant-hire Association, Association of Lorry Loader Manufacturers and Importers, and the Health and Safety Executive, an extra meeting of the CPCS Board was held on 9 July to discuss further changes.

Discussions focused on the need to support the plant sector and individuals in it through difficult economic times, to ensure retention of trained individuals, while maintaining a focus on the highest standards of health and safety and continuing to move towards a fully qualified workforce.

As a result further changes to the CPCS to be implemented include:

* Greater local decision making for the national network of CPCS Monitors, to deal with specific one-off requests and provide a degree of flexibility

* Overlaps between training and testing to be allowed in some very specialist areas but only where, due to demand, the number of trainers and testers is low

* At the request of the demolition sector, the ConstructionSkills Health & Safety Test will replace the current demolition specialist test for plant operators undertaking category A65. The A65 Practical Test will also be reduced from 4 hours 30 minutes, to 3 hours

* Additional guidance notes and training materials will be developed and published to assist employers and individuals prepare for the CPCS Technical Tests

* Logbooks will be issued at first red card stage, indicative of the support they have from industry and the HSE

* A review of the renewals process will be undertaken for the development of the CPCS Renewal Theory Test and seeking to simplify the logbook validation process

* A communications campaign will be launched to raise awareness of the scheme and encourage take-up.

Changes will also be made to the red card system in light of financial uncertainties and their impact on the plant sector:

* Subject to certain conditions, one additional red card per category (with a two year life) will be permitted for individuals, supporting them in difficult times

* All "Grace Periods" in the scheme will be extended to 12 months to bring parity between the different elements

* For candidates who appeal, the red card extension period will be extended to 12 months to allow time to complete the S/NVQ

* Awareness of the need to complete a S/NVQ among red card holders will be raised by adding information on the card.

Trevor Gamble, chair of the CPCS Management Committee, said, "It's been a year since we had to look at CPCS in response to industry requests and it seemed like an appropriate time to talk to the plant industry about how those changes were working and what else we might need to do to help the scheme reflect the current state of the sector. We think the further changes announced today strike a good balance between showing flexibility and supporting employers and individuals through hard economic times, and maintaining the high standards of the CPCS card that we know the industry and the HSE value."

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