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Workers to prove skills as well as safety, as CRO cards near sell by date

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85,000 Construction related occupation (CRO) cards issued by CSCS will expire in September, as the body nears the end of a two year phase out programme. CRO cards are targeted as they require applicants only to pass a touch screen health and safety test to get one.


Around 85,000 construction workers risk not getting onto site - unless they take steps to replace site cards due to be scrapped by the Construction Skills Certification Scheme at the end of September.

The Construction Related Occupation (CRO) cards have been in use since 2005. But in recent times they have been criticised as the ‘easy way in’.

A total of 300,000 CRO cards have been issued since 2005 due to applicants only needing to complete the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test to be eligible for a CRO Card, the CSCS has said. They believe it has been used as an easy point of entry into sites as it is the easiest card to obtain.  

The CSCS has said that as part of its phasing-out strategy all 85,000 CRO cards issued since October 2015 will expire at the end of September 2017.

“The CRO card is no longer available and we are reminding those card holders to put a plan in place to move off their existing CRO cards before they expire,” said Alan O'Neile, head of communications at CSCS

CRO cards are being withdrawn as part of a major shake-up of construction card schemes by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC). The CLC agreed that from January 2015 the industry should specify and promote card schemes carrying the CSCS logo with no equivalents accepted.

The CLC also recommended that card schemes carrying the CSCS logo must only certify those occupations with nationally recognised construction related qualifications. The CRO card did not require the holder to obtain a qualification, prompting the decision to withdraw it.

“The removal of CRO is a significant step for us, it supports the work we have been doing, such as the introduction of the green Labourer card, that ensures the scheme only certifies those with qualifications, whilst also achieving the expectations of the Construction Leadership Council,” said Alan.

“A qualified workforce raises standards and will ultimately lead to a safer site. Allowing workers on site who are not qualified for the work they do they are a risk to themselves and their colleagues.” he said.

CRO cards cover more than 450 trades. What each card holder must do to do to replace their card depends on their job and the qualifications they already hold.

“In many cases CRO card holders will be required to register for existing or newly developed qualifications. In others, card holders will be asked to move to one of CSCS’s Partner Card Schemes that are more appropriate for their occupations. For some, where their occupation is not construction-related or no suitable qualification exists, a CSCS card will no longer be issued,” said Alan.

The card finder tool on the CSCS website can help plan replacement CRO cards. Click here. Simply enter your CRO occupation (as displayed on the back of your card) into card finder and follow the steps on the screen.

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