New question styles for the Touchscreen Test

CITB is reviewing the Health, safety and environment (HS&E) test to ensure that it continues to contribute towards a qualified workforce with the right knowledge, skills and training.

From January 2018 the test will be updated to include new question styles. The content of the questions will not change but a few questions may be presented in a different way. Information regarding the changes, the new question styles and what is happening in the future can be found below.

You can try the new question styles by visiting the CITB website.

Please note: the update in January will only include the ‘drag and drop text’ and ‘multiple choice with images’ question styles. Other question styles will be introduced later in the review.

All digital revision materials (DVDs, downloads and apps) have been updated to include the new question styles. These are available to purchase from the CITB shop at HS&E Test Revision Material .  If you already have one of these, there will be an update available to include these changes. For further information about the updates refer to the frequently asked questions page.

You can still revise for the test using the revision book as the question content remains the same. However, if you would like to try the new question styles you can view them on the CITB website.

Thanks to the CITB for this information.

CITB to leave Bircham Newton and Quit training!

The Construction Industry Training Board is leaving its historic home in remote Bircham Newton, quitting training delivery and outsourcing back office functions.

CITB chief executive Sarah Beale said the restructuring of the organisation would create “the strategic, forward-looking and agile skills body that the industry is seeking”. In effect, CITB will exist simply to collect and redistribute levy money, as a commisionner, and to accredit courses.

Workers’ union representative Mark Robinson said the proposals would “slash, trash and privatise the CITB”.

Plans for reforming the Construction Industry Training Board are contained in the document Vision 2020: The Future CITB. Its publication follows the government’s industry training boards (ITB) review and the triennial consensus process. While construction voted in favour of continuing the industry levy, it also revealed widespread dissatisfaction with the performance of the CITB and called for significant reform.

Vision 2020: The Future CITB is a three-year plan to slim down the organisation, turning it into ‘a commissioner of outcomes’. CITB will no longer deliver training itself except where it is unavailable on the market, or not good enough. The National Construction College at Bircham Newton in rural Norfolk faces sale or closure.

CITB will also no longer administer the card schemes, including the Construction Skills Certification Scheme and the Construction Plant Competency Scheme. These operations will now be privatised.

The proposed plan includes a move for the organisation’s head office from Bircham Newton, with Peterborough earmarked as the likely new base. In addition, there will be small co-located offices in London, Scotland and Wales. Around two-thirds of the workforce will remain ‘mobile’, as now.

The plans include the outsourcing of internal corporate support functions and customer operations; the proposal is to outsource these by the end of 2018. Internal corporate support functions to be outsourced are: finance, procurement and contract management, legal, human resources, business improvement, marketing and estates & facilities management. Customer operations, card schemes and apprenticeship processing will also be farmed out.

CITB chief executive Sarah Beale said: “Construction needs to modernise and CITB is no exception. We accept the challenges laid down by industry and government and we will deliver a future-fit training body by adapting and updating our business model.

“Some really tough decisions could be made under these proposals but I’m confident in our commitment to becoming a more representative, accountable and reliable ‘levy in, skills out’ organisation. We now have a clearly defined path, and we see a bright future for a modern, engaged CITB.”

She added: “I understand this strategy will bring about big changes to employees at CITB and we will be supporting our colleagues as much as possible throughout this process. These are tough calls to make, but needed if we are to meet the future demands and make the greatest impact to construction.  We have worked hard to develop robust, well thought-out plans which meet our industry’s needs whilst building a solid foundation for CITB’s future. The proposals outlined today will be phased in over the next three years, and with our customers always in mind it’s business as usual.”

CITB currently has approximately 1,300 staff. Unions say that hundreds of these jobs are now at risk.

Unite national officer for construction Jerry Swain said: “These plans are a hammer blow for the construction industry and for the workers at the CITB. Thousands of construction workers owe their careers and their livelihoods to the unique training they have received at Bircham Newton. There are grave doubts if any private provider could or would provide the same level of training at the same cost, which is currently provided at this unique facility. It appears that the ‘reforms’ being proposed by the CITB are all about increasing profits for individuals and companies and not what is in the best interests of the construction industry.”

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Mark Robinson said: “These proposals essentially would slash, trash and privatise the CITB. The likelihood of finding a training provider willing and capable to take on the National Construction College function of the Bircham Newton site and other NCC sites across the country is difficult to ascertain and puts hundreds of jobs at serious risk.

“Unite believes it is totally unnecessary to go to this level of change. For the CITB not to provide their own training on behalf of industry leaves the market wide open for less capable and reputable organisations to drive down the quality and standards that the industry expects.

“Unite will be seeking the views of its members to see what action can be taken to defend the hundreds of jobs not only in West Norfolk but throughout the country.”

With thanks to ‘The Construction Index’

Rest Rules Change for Commercial Drivers

HiabThe Government has announced new changes to rules for commercial drivers in a bid to crack down on driving while tired.

The Drive and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has the power to fine commercial drivers up to £300 if they are caught breaking the rules on how many hours they can drive and the breaks they need to take.

Currently the DVSA can only fine drivers for offences committed that day and ongoing offences, like manipulating tachograph records, which record drivers’ hours.

Under the new changes, DVSA traffic examiners will be given new powers to issue on-the-spot fines for any drivers’ hours offences committed in the last 28 days.

British drivers can be fined if the offences took place abroad and the rules will also apply to drivers caught breaking the rules in Great Britain even if they are from other countries.

From 1st November 2017, DVSA will also start to fine drivers up to £300 if they spend their full weekly rest break in their vehicle in places where it causes a problem, for example, if a lorry driver spends their full break in the cab of their lorry in a layby.

The change is designed to ensure that drivers get a proper rest and are not exposed to poor living conditions, DVSA said.

Around 40% of sleep-related accidents involve commercial vehicles and almost a quarter of injuries in accidents involving lorries are fatal or serious.

According to RoSPA, driving while tired may be responsible for 1 in 5 (20%) of all accidents and up to a quarter of serious and fatal crashes.

DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewllyn, said: “DVSA’s priority is to protect you from unsafe drivers and vehicles.  These tougher fines will help us to take stronger action against any drivers or operators who break drivers’ hours rules and will help make our roads safer.

“There’s no excuse for driving while tired.  The results of falling asleep at the wheel of 40 tonne lorry can be devastating to families and communities.  Any driver breaking these rules is putting other road users at risk and could face losing their licence and livelihood.”

James Firth, the Freight Transport Association’s Head of Licensing Policy and Compliance Information, said:

“For some years, DVSA officers have been virtually powerless to take effective action against non-UK HGV drivers who may have committed a string of offences in the days and weeks before the vehicle is stopped.

“These new powers mean the enforcement authorities will be more able – and more likely – to take action against all drivers who are found to have repeatedly flouted these critical road safety laws.”

Safe Use of Ladders

Following a recent fatal accident investigation, HSE is strongly advising all duty holders and users of combination ladders to ensure that they:

  • carry out pre-use checks;
  • use them in accordance with instructions;
  • check the locking mechanism(s).

Failure to do so could result in serious accidents.

Telescopic ladders

The use of telescopic ladders is growing more popular due to their ease of storage and convenience; however, there are numerous issues with many of these products due to the number of components involved and their construction. Namely:

  • they are often rated for a lower load (person, tools and materials);
  • the stiles are prone to greater bending;
  • they are prone to greater bending of the frame.

The issues are likely to increase with the height of the ladder.

The situation is compounded by significant numbers of substandard products that are being made available on the UK market.  These are often low cost products that are attractive and are imported from outside the EU. Some of these have been implicated in serious accidents, including fatalities. The relevant European Standard – BS EN 131-6:2015 – provides more information on the design requirements.

Duty holders and users should ensure that:

  • pre-use checks on the ladders are thorough, checking the components and operation of each and every locking mechanism (often one or two per rung) and the associated release mechanism(s);
  • the ladders are stored well, transported carefully and maintained (including cleaning) as dirt and grit etc. can affect locking mechanisms;
    they understand the limitations and likely performance of their ladder, e.g. strength, bending etc.
  • Trading Standards are aware of the substandard products and have been taking action, example

Guidance

HSE will be amending its ladder guidance INDG455: Safe use of ladders and stepladders: A brief guide

Many thanks to HSE for this information.

CPCS Changes Expected in 2017

CITB and the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) Management Committee have announced plans for reviewing and updating their scheme in 2017.

We have experienced and/are expecting changes in the following areas:

Scheme Category Development – reviewing the Telescopic handler 360 Slew and Forward Tipping Dumper categories.

Digital logbooks – a new digital logbook option will be created, to make renewing via the logbook route easier and more robust.  Additional support for validators will equip them to perform at consistently high standards.

Tester Renewal Tests – currently being developed, these renewal tests will be in place during the first half of 2017.

 

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CPCS Telescopic Suspended Loads – Save £120!

Limited places on our 2 day (training and testing) course, 13th and 14th June.  Only £540 inc vat (saving £120!)

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New HS&E Revision Materials

The HS&E test revision materials are being updated to the 2017 editions and will be available to purchase from 1 April. Content has been updated to reflect legislation changes.

They are available in the following formats and pricing shown below is effective from 1 April 2017:

Book- £11.50
DVD- £13.25 exc VAT
Download- £11.75 exc VAT
App- £5.99

Latest versions of the HS&E test revision books
The most up to date versions of the HS&E test revision books are:

Health, safety and environment test for operatives and specialists – GT100/16
Health, safety and environment test for managers and professionals – GT200/16
Please note the following questions have been removed from the HS&E tests:

HS&E Operatives and specialists test question 6.06 in GT100/16
HS&E Operatives and specialists test question 6.13 in GT100/16
HS&E Operatives and specialists test question 6.14 in GT100/16
HS&E Operatives and specialists test question 9.25 in GT100/16
HS&E Operatives and specialists test question 10.05 in GT100/16
HS&E Operatives and specialists test question 19.30 in GT100/16
HS&E Operatives and specialists test question 15.19 in GT100/16
HS&E Managers and professionals test question 8.10 in GT200/16
To order the most up to date versions of the revision material either:

call 0344 994 4488;
visit the HS&E online shop, or
via the HS&E app which is available to download from the Apple and Android stores.

Winter working…..Safely

Slip and trip accidents increase during the Autumn and Winter season for a number of reasons: there is less daylight, leaves fall onto paths and become wet and slippery and cold weather spells cause ice and snow to build up on paths.

There are effective actions that you can take to reduce the risk of a slip or trip. Regardless of the size of your site, always ensure that regularly used walkways are promptly tackled.

In your risk management assessments be sure to consider: lighting, wet and decaying leaves, rainwater, ice frost and snow and gritting.

Lighting: Is there is enough lighting around your workplace for you and your workers to be able to see and avoid hazards that might be on the ground? The easiest way to find out is to ask your staff. Another way is to shadow your employees for a couple of days, walk the main internal and external routes that they use throughout their working day. It is important to do this both inside and outside of the workplace, as the effect of light changes during the day. If you can’t see hazards on the ground you will need to improve the lighting (e.g. new lights or changing the type of bulb).

Wet and decaying leaves: Fallen leaves that become wet or have started to decay can create slip risks in two ways, they hide any hazard that may be on the path or they themselves create a slip risk.

Put in place a procedure for removing leaves at regular intervals; you might even consider removing the offending bushes or trees altogether.

Rain water: In dealing with rainwater:

  • When fitting external paved areas ensure that the material used will be slip resistant when wet.
  • Discourage people from taking shortcuts over grass or dirt which are likely to become slippery when wet. Consider converting existing shortcuts into proper paths.
  • On new sites, before laying paths, think about how pedestrians are likely to move around the site. Putting the path in the right place from the start may save you money in the long term.
  • Many slip accidents happen at building entrances as people entering the building walk in rainwater. Fitting canopies of a good size over building entrances and in the right position can help to prevent this.
  • If a canopy is not a possibility, consider installing large, absorbent mats or even changing the entrance flooring to one which is non-slip.

Ice, frost and snow: To reduce the risk of slips on ice, frost or snow, you need to assess the risk and put in a system to manage it.
Identify the outdoor areas used by pedestrians most likely to be affected by ice, for example: – building entrances, car parks, pedestrian walkways, shortcuts, sloped areas and areas constantly in the shade or wet.

  • Monitor the temperature, as prevention is key.
  • You need to take action whenever freezing temperatures are forecast. Keep up to date by visiting a weather service site such as the Met Office or the Highways England .
  • There are also smart signs on the market, available to buy at low cost, which display warning messages at 50 and below.
  • Put a procedure in place to prevent an icy surface forming and/or keep pedestrians off the slippery surface;Use grit (see separate article below for more detail) or similar, on areas prone to be slippery in frosty, icy conditions;
    –  Consider covering walkways e.g. by an arbour high enough for people to walk through, or use an insulating material on smaller areas overnight;
    –  Divert pedestrians to less slippery walkways and barrier off existing ones.
    –  If warning cones are used, remember to remove them once the hazard has passed or they will eventually be ignored.

Gritting: The most common method used to de-ice floors is gritting as it is relatively cheap, quick to apply and easy to spread. Rock salt (plain and treated) is the most commonly used ‘grit’. It is the substance used on public roads by the highways authority.

Salt can stop ice forming and cause existing ice or snow to melt. It is most effective when it is ground down, but this will take far longer on pedestrian areas than on roads.

Gritting should be carried out when frost, ice or snow is forecast or when walkways are likely to be damp or wet and the floor temperatures are at, or below freezing. The best times are early in evening before the frost settles and/or early in the morning before employees arrive. Salt doesn’t work instantly; it needs sufficient time to dissolve into the moisture on the floor.

If you grit when it is raining heavily the salt will be washed away, causing a problem if the rain then turns to snow. Compacted snow, which turns to ice, is difficult to treat effectively with grit. Be aware that ‘dawn frost’ can occur on dry surfaces, when early morning dew forms and freezes on impact with the cold surface. It can be difficult to predict when or where this condition will occur.

With thanks to www.hse.gov.uk