An Introduction to NRSWA Training
NRSWA training is essential for all of those completing or supervising jobs such as excavating roads or paths, redirecting traffic for construction work, locating underground obstacles and re-laying roads and pathways including modular paths, concrete slabs and hot and cold lay bitumen. It is focused on the legalities set out by the New Roads and Street Works Act, which lays out the qualifications that all road workers must have.
NRSWA training is broken down to two skill levels; Operatives (those who directly complete the works) and Supervisors (those who oversee the quality and safety of these works). Whilst the different training courses do cover the same themes, they are tailored to each of the specific roles. Operator courses cover how to do the tasks safely and competently, while the supervisors’ courses focus on how to manage the whole job well.
There are two primary reasons in favour of completing NRSWA training.
- Firstly, that the danger associated with the areas of construction, maintenance and roads means that there can be considerable risk to individuals and the public when completing such a job. Completing a course that makes individuals aware of the risks and how to minimise them is extremely important.
- Secondly, as work on roads and streets often can affect not only the workers themselves, but also the public, it is essential that operatives and supervisors account for this in the way that they work. Ensuring that all workers are fully trained will help them to do this, making it a safer experience for everyone involved.
How is the training set out?
NRSWA is a modular scheme, accredited by City and Guilds. As it is broken down into individual units for Operatives and Supervisors, these can be chosen on the basis of the most relevant for the job ahead, or with a view to achieving an NRSWA qualification.
Sitting Units alone will not give the candidate an NRSWA qualification, with 2 exceptions as detailed below. NRSWA qualifications are also required to obtain an NRSWA card.
Please note: if you need to take part in both a role as an Operative and as a Supervisor then you will need to sit both sets of relevant Units; just sitting one or the other is not enough.
It is also a legal requirement that any streetworks site have at least one qualified operative and supervisor on site at all times. It cannot be the same person holding both qualifications.
Once you have sat and passed the relevant Units for your job role in the combination to gain your desired Qualification(s), you will receive an NWSRA card. These are valid for 5 years from date of issue.
Remember, cards are not awarded for completion of units but on completion of sets of units which make up either the O (1-6) or S (1- 6) qualifications.
Operative Units & Qualifications
The objective of the Operatives’ qualifications is to train the candidate to be aware of health and safety when carrying out specific jobs on the roads and highways of the UK.
The full list of Operative Units available are as follows:
- Unit 001 Location and avoidance of underground apparatus
- Unit 002 Signing, lighting and guarding
- Unit 003 Excavation in the road/highway
- Unit 004 Reinstatement and compaction of backfill materials
- Unit 005 Reinstatement of sub-base and road-base in non-bituminous materials
- Unit 006 Reinstatement of cold-lay bituminous materials
- Unit 007 Reinstatement in hot-lay bituminous materials
- Unit 008 Reinstatement of concrete slabs
- Unit 009 Reinstatement of modular surfaces and concrete footways
By combining these Units, 6 Operative Qualifications can be gained:
- Units 001, 002 and 003 combine to create Qualification O1: Excavation in the road/highway
- Units 001, 002, 003, 004, 005 and 006 combine to create Qualification 02: Excavation, backfilling and reinstatement – cold lay.
- Units 001, 002, 006 and 007 combine to create Qualification 03: Reinstatement – hot and cold lay bituminous materials -
- Units 001, 002 and 008 combine to create Qualification 04: Reinstatement of concrete slabs
- Units 001, 002 and 009 combine to create Qualification O5: Reinstatement of modular surfaces and concrete footways
- Passing Unit 002 automatically gives the candidate Qualification 06: Signing, lighting and guarding
Supervisor’s Units & Qualifications
The aim of the Supervisors’ qualifications is to verify that candidates leading teams of operatives are aware of health and safety issues that confront themselves, their team, pedestrians and vehicle users whilst working on UK roads and highways.
The full list of Supervisor Units available are as follows:
- Unit 001 Location and avoidance of underground apparatus.
- Unit 010 Monitoring signing, lighting and guarding.
- Unit 011 Monitoring excavation in the highway.
- Unit 012 Monitoring reinstatement and compaction of backfill materials.
- Unit 013 Monitoring reinstatement of sub-base and road base in non-bituminous materials.
- Unit 014 Monitoring reinstatement in bituminous materials.
- Unit 015 Monitoring reinstatement of concrete slabs.
- Unit 016 Monitoring reinstatement of modular surfaces and concrete footways.
As the canny among you will have realised, most of the supervisor units begin with a 0, while the operator units begin with a 00. The only exception to this rule is the Unit 001 - Location and Avoidance of Underground Apparatus, which is valid for both supervisors and operatives.
By combining these Units, 6 Supervisor Qualifications can be gained:
- Units 001, 010 and 011 combine to create Qualification S1: Monitor excavation in the road/highway
- Units 001, 010, 011, 012, 013 and 014 combine to create Qualification S2: Monitor excavation, backfilling and reinstatement - construction layers
- Units 001, 010 and 014 combine to create Qualification S3: Monitor reinstatement – hot and cold lay bituminous materials
- Units 001, 010 and 015 combine to create Qualification S4: Monitor reinstatement of concrete slabs
- Units 001, 010 and 016 combine to create Qualification S5: Monitor reinstatement of modular surfaces and concrete footways -
- Passing Unit 010 automatically gives the candidate Qualification S6: Monitor signing, lighting and guarding
It is necessary for Operatives and Supervisors in England to take a NRSWA training re-qualification course before their NRSWA card expires.
This means that once you have completed your original qualification, you will need to do a revision and exam conditions session within the allotted validity period, instead of just renewing your card.
Streetworks training needs to be completed with an accredited trainer and most courses are “on location” at an approved site. However, courses can be arranged at a business’ own venue should they meet the minimum candidate numbers set out by the training company.
Some of the Units are seen as less common than others, namely those concerning hot lay and concrete slab training. These are still available but may be available at less locations in the UK.