SSSTS - The Triple S Qualification for Site Supervisors
As anyone working on a construction site will be aware, health and safety is of paramount concern. The consequences of accidents can be more dangerous than in other sectors, so ensuring that your staff are well trained is crucial. Not only does this ensure that they do their job well, to a good standard and on time, it also ensures that they safeguard the welfare of those they work with. Providing suitable training for your employees also helps to meet the responsibilities placed on employers in regard to health and safety.
A vital part of any construction team is the Supervisor. A good supervisor will be able to manage their team with skill, enabling the job in hand to be completed in a safe and efficient way. A key method of ensuring that your supervisors are achieving their full potential is to ensure that they receive supervisor safety training.
The SSSTS (Site Supervisor’s Safety Training Scheme) course, endorsed by the CITB is the most well renowned of all supervisor safety training courses. It is run regularly in locations across the UK, by numerous different training providers and is focused around how to supervise a team of workers on a construction site, whilst looking after their health and safety.
SSSTS is one of a number of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) courses and as such is delivered in accordance with the CITB’s standards. Providers need to be CITB accredited and keep to their strict standards to deliver the course. This means that no matter which location you choose, the course content meets the expected standard of quality.
The SSSTS course meets UKCG (UK Contractor’s Group) Regulations. The UKCG, made up of some of the largest construction firms within the UK, require that all individuals in a supervisory position who will be working on a UKCG site should hold a qualification demonstrating their competence for this role. Successful completion of the SSSTS course is one such way of doing this.
IOSH or SSSTS?
This is not such a complicated question as it first appears. IOSH courses such as Managing Safely have a more general focus can be applied to all industries, not specifically to construction as CITB endorsed courses are. However, if your post requires you to become a member of IOSH and have the support of this professional body there are now specific IOSH courses designed for those within the construction industry.
SMSTS or SSSTS?
If you are not yet at a managerial level, the Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) is the most sensible option. The Site Managers Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) course is aimed at Managers in construction and this is reflected in its 5-day duration and content. The SSSTS course is shorter, and specifically tailored towards Supervisors. Unless a client is specifically stating a requirement for an SMSTS or PMSTS (Plant Managers Safety Training Scheme) certificate, the SSSTS certificate should be appropriate for all staff involved in supervisory work including foremen, gang team leaders and site supervisors.
The exception to this might be where senior supervisors are planning to become involved in site management or plant management, in which case they might sit one of the other two courses. The SSSTS course is designed for team leaders, foremen, gangers, first line managers and others involved in supervisory activities.
There are no prerequisites to sitting the SSSTS course, although it is expected that you are either currently a supervisor or aiming to be one.
SSSTS Course Duration
The SSSTS course runs over two consecutive days and is valid for a five-year duration. Being a shorter course is beneficial in that delegates do not have to spend days away from site, whilst learning the essential information required to ensure team safety.
Courses are available at locations across the country. Some, not all, providers will run the course over a weekend and it is also possible to set up “in company courses” for firms where there are more than 5 delegates who need to undertake the training at the same time.
Grants exist for SSSTS courses and these are open to CITB Levy Payers.
SSSTS Course Content
The content delivered on an SSSTS course is specialised to those working in supervisory roles. It also adheres to the UKCG guidelines on supervisor training, in that it addresses the “how” of supervisor safety training, as well as the “what”. This means that it covers how to be an effective supervisor as well as what the supervisor should know. The course itself is split into two different areas of training: the promotion of the health and safety knowledge necessary to supervise in a safe way and how to supervise a team effectively. Combined, these two elements ensure that supervisors are well prepared to take on their expected duties.
Promotion of Health and Safety Knowledge
- Legislation such as The Health and Safety at Work Act – 1974 and The Construction Design Management Regulations (CDM)
- How to identify and prevent risks
- Preventing and controlling fire
- Working at heights
- PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
- Good practice on manual handling
- How to report accidents
- Administering first aid
How to Supervise A Team Effectively?
- Working with subcontractors
- How to instruct your team successfully
- Toolbox talks
- Dealing with conflicts in an effective manner
- Presenting information
- Dealing with the behaviour of others
- Effective leadership
- How to act if others are not adhering to health and safety procedures
The SSSTS course is assessed by a short, multiple choice test at the end of the two days. It has been designed to assess the knowledge gained by completing the course. In addition to this, the trainer monitors progress through the course, providing feedback designed to improve performance. Candidates are also asked to devise a “toolbox talk” - which is a presentation for the instruction of workers on site.
All delegates have to pass the test to be awarded an SSSTS card, which is then valid for 5 years.
SSSTS Refresher Courses
The SSSTS course is also now available as a Refresher course. Lasting a single day, those with full qualifications can refresh their knowledge without completing the full 2-day course.
Please note that candidates must be able to provide proof of attendance to the full SSSTS course to be eligible for the two-day SSSTS Refresher course. Current SSSTS or SSSTS Refresher certificates must not have expired; if this is the case, the candidate will need to re-take the full two-day SSSTS course.