Can Plant Operators afford not to be CPCS Qualified?
Plant Operators should be aware of the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) training scheme and the courses available, as not being CPCS qualified could mean that they are notable to undertake all the responsibilities of their job role or are passed over for other roles if their qualifications are not up to date.
The CPCS card is the one of the more popular accreditation schemes for plant operators in the UK. It is requested by contractors belonging to the UK Contractors Group (UKCG) as it addresses the Construction Design Management Regulations (CDM) code of practice. Those who wish to work on UKCG sites therefore must have a CPCS card. With the UKCG body representing the largest and most significant UK contractors and with these members requesting membership of this scheme, it is easy to see why CPCS training is seen as essential.
The CPCS scheme is divided into categories all beginning with the prefix A; these relate directly to the type of plant you are working with. For example, A59 is an Excavator 360 degrees above ten tonnes.
Some of the categories are then divided into subcategories; these denote a specific type of plant - so an A59A course would be for operators of tracked excavators, while an A59B course would be for operators of a wheeled machine.
Ensure you know which category/sub category of course you need to apply for; if in any doubt, contact your training provider or course specialist, to avoid sitting unnecessary courses.
CPCS Cards – Red & Blue
Many delegates who sit a CPCS course receive the Red CPCS card. This lasts for two years and qualifies you as a Trained Operator. Red cards are typically awarded for sitting intermediate or novice courses, which are suitable for those with less than 2 years’ experience.
To gain a Red card you will need to complete the relevant CSCS (Construction Skills Certificate Scheme) Touchscreen, Health and Safety test before you can take the training course. You then need to complete the course and pass the relevant practical and theory tests to the category you are training in.
Be aware that there is a 12-month grace period following expiry for operators gain the Blue card in their selected CPCS category before having tore-enter the CPCS Scheme from scratch; however, it must be their first Red card. Subsequent Red cards will not honour the 12-month grace period for expiry.
Once you have your Red card, you are then able to progress onto the Blue card to become a Competent Operator.
Blue cards last for 5 years before they need to be renewed and are achieved byc andidates enrolling on to an NVQ where the assessor will come to your site on a number of occasions and assess your competence.
Remember to sit any CPCS training tests you must have sat and passed the core CSCS touch screen test first,demonstrating your competency of basic health and safety awareness on site.
The only exceptions to this rule are for CPCS categories A61 Appointed Persons - Lifting Operations where a managerial and professional CSCS TST (MAP)is needed and the A62 Crane/ Lifting Operations Supervisor where the supervisor CSCS TST is needed before enrolling on the CPCS course.
Remember too, that if you need additional training days, you can ask for these before the course is booked, giving you the peace of mind that you have sufficient time to cover the skills for the test.
By completing a CPCS course, both you and your employer can be sure that you are working safely and effectively, despite the complications of using machinery on site.
For more information and assistance in booking one of the CPCS training courses we offer, please contact us or book directly through our website.