By: Kelly Holdaway On: March 06, 2015 In: Blog Comments: 0

Are you using the right CPCS cards on site?

CPCS is recognised by the UK Contractors Group (UKCG) and Major Home Builders Group (MHBG), amongst others, as the preferred card to comply with codes of practice for competence and certification.

CPCS provides a registration card scheme acknowledged by the industry for those involved in plant operations by recognising skills, knowledge and understanding, competence and qualifications.


Designed as a tool for site operators to quickly and easily verify the skills and qualifications of subcontractors and employees, the CPCS card scheme has been very successful since its creation. Simply by using the Online Card Checker, employers can see at a glance that employees hold the required skill level and that they have an understanding of health and safety issues on site.


Thanks to the various levels and types of card available, site operators can insist that all workers hold the relevant credentials before being permitted access to work. By implementing such a policy, site operators will be able to meet many of their obligations under the current legislation. These sites also tend to be more efficient when it comes to health and safety management, reducing the risks posed to employees and the general public.

But what are you looking at?

As well as being able to check the cards to verify their authenticity, site operators should be able to visually identify the colour-coded cards to ensure that holders are only carrying out the duties for which they are authorised. Each card has the type printed on the front along with a photograph of the holder, but the colours also provide a very quick indication of the level of qualifications held.

CPCS RedThe Trained Operator Card (Red) a level of core skills, knowledge and understanding that can be applied in the workplace until measured as competent against national standards. Experienced and able operators may hold a Trained Operator Card whilst being measured against national standards through an SVQ or NVQ. The red card is valid for a two year period the card that is non-renewable.


Tcpcs_blue_competence_card_demolition_planthe Competent Operator Card (Blue Card) tells the observer that the holder has demonstrated a level of health and safety awareness through the CITB Health, safety and environment test, underpinning knowledge previously through a CPCS theory test, operating ability previously through a CPCS practical test and operating competence on the type of plant (evidenced by an SVQ or NVQ or employer confirmation of competence). Competent Operator Cards Blue cards are renewable every five years providing the specific requirements are met.

black cardTester (Black) Cards are issued to those that have suitable and sufficient industry and operating knowledge and ability on the category of plant in all its acceptable uses and environments, and have met the Scheme requirements to become a Tester. Black cards are valid for 5 years and can be renewed providing all requirements are met.



What to check

When checking employee CPCS cards there are a number of factors to consider:

  • The colour/type of card – does the employee hold the right type of card for the role they are doing?
  • The name on the card – every CPCS card has the holder’s name printed on it, so you must check that it matches other identification (like passport or foreign ID card).
  • The expiry date – CPCS (Blue & Black) cards are only valid for five years from the date of issue, so holders need to renew them periodically. Contractors holding expired cards are not covered by the CPCS scheme.
  • The registration number – when entered into the online CITB website (along with the employee’s date of birth and National Insurance number) will confirm the card type and a photo of the registered holder.


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