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How to get a CPCS Card

How to get a CPCS Card: A step by step guide


CPCS is an acronym for Construction Plant Competence Scheme. Under some circumstances when working in the construction industry, employees and contractors may be required to hold a CPCS card. This is an indication that the holder meets required standards for performing particular roles in construction.

This article gives a brief overview of who needs a CPCS card and how such individuals can obtain one. It is recommended that employees and employers in the field of construction, and especially plant operation, should become familiar with this material.

What is a CPCS card?

In more specific terms, a CPCS card is an industry standard identification that an individual has the necessary knowledge and competence to work as a plant operator within the field of construction. The knowledge and competence required is in defined categories, these are professional construction and plant competence, and health and safety requirements and procedures in plant operation.

With the CPCS card system in place, employers can be confident that their staff members have the necessary skills and experience to carry out the tasks required within the context of plant operation. The necessary skills and knowledge are maintained over time, as card holders are required to stay up to date on industry developments through periodic refresher courses.

Why is a CPCS card necessary?

The CPCS scheme became operational in 2003. The objective of the scheme is to ensure that employers and plant operators can have confidence that they are meeting the required standards in health and safety legislation. This improves the overall approach towards safety in the industry and avoids any penalties that might be imposed by the authorities should safety procedures not be adequate, or not in accordance with regulations.

Employing only CPCS cardholders in the relevant positions ensures that individuals who possess, and maintain, the knowledge and competence to safeguard plant safety and meet legislative requirements, hold these key roles. To meet these objectives, applicants for positions in the operation of plant equipment on various construction sites are required to be CPCS cardholders.

Most plant operators on the Major Contractors Group (MCG) and National Contractors Federation (NCF) sites have to be CPCS cardholders in order to be considered for these positions. Other plant and construction sites are also implementing similar requirements, with both the CPCS card and within the amalgamated CSCS scheme, which has a broader application within the whole construction industry.

How to get a CPCS card?

There are three types of card within the CPCS scheme – the trained operator card, the competent operator card, and the tester card. Each of these cards requires theoretical and practical tests that can be taken at any approved site nationwide, or at one of the designated regional test centres. In addition, experience and expertise should be demonstrated through ongoing documentation, such as a professional logbook.

The trained operator card, also known as the red card, is the first step, and this is issued for a non-renewable two-year period. A more advanced step, the competent operator card, also known as the blue card, is valid for five years and is renewable, making this the preferred card type for many plant operator positions that are to be held over a longer period of time. The most advanced card type, the tester card, is issued to individuals who have demonstrated thorough knowledge and ability in relation to all plant operation environments, and this card signifies that an individual is qualified as a tester for the CPCS scheme. A temporary tester card, known as a black card, can be obtained as a provisional step towards this qualification.

Applications for the relevant tests, material to help in preparation for the tests, and details of the other requirements in relation to experience and documentation to be met in order to qualify for the CPCS card, are available online from the issuing authorities. Detailed help with the process of applying for the CPCS card is available from the knowledgeable staff at Randstad, who can help candidates who have not yet undergone the necessary certification. The staff members at the company have the necessary experience to ensure that candidates and positions can be matched correctly in terms of the necessary skills, knowledge, and qualifications. Both employers and employees can therefore be confident that their needs are being met in terms of finding the right applicant or finding the right job.

Further Qualifications:

Excavator 360° Tracked below 10 tonnes – CPCS Code A58 and above 10 tonnes – CPCS Code A59

These two courses are for operators of tracked 360 excavators under and over 10 tonnes, and are aimed at individuals who are new to operating these types of excavator, have not previously undergone any form of training, or who require refresher training.

The courses combine classroom and practical work and cover the following points:
• Operating and positioning the machine efficiently and safely.
• Adding and removing ancillary equipment.
• Undertaking routine servicing and making minor adjustments.
• Learning about routine servicing and adjustments and how to carry them out.
• Learning about the various safety precautions necessary to operate the excavator.
• Understanding information provided by level pegs and profiles.
• Using laser levels to work to levels.

Forward Tipping Dumpers: Wheeled – CPCS Code A09

This course is for operators of wheeled forward tipping dumpers and is aimed at individuals who are new to operating this type of excavator, have not previously undergone any form of training, or who require refresher training.

The course combines classroom and practical work and covers the following points:
• Operating the dumper to minimum safety standards.
• Adding and removing ancillary equipment.
• Undertaking routine servicing and making minor adjustments.
• Preparing the dumper for travelling on the public highway.
• Recognising the limitations, uses and capabilities of the machine.
• Learning about the various safety precautions necessary to operate the excavator.
• Gain an understanding of how diesel engines work and the operation of its various component parts.

Banksman Slinger/ Signaller – CPCS Code A40

This course provides the perfect introduction for individuals who are new or inexperienced operators, or those who require refresher training. The training aims to ensure that anyone undertaking slinging and signalling for the movement of loads using lifting equipment, has a basic knowledge of how to work safely and efficiently.

The course combines classroom and practical work and covers the following points: on to the operator of the crane.
• Selecting, attaching and detaching appropriate lifting tackle safely and correctly.
• The use of clear and unambiguous signals to direct the actions of a crane moving loads of varying dimensions and weights.
• Storage and maintenance of lifting accessories and ascertaining their serviceability.

Telescopic Handler (endorsement C: all sizes excluding 360° slew) – CPCS Code A17

This course provides foundation training and assessment in the maintenance and operation of telescopic handlers.

The course combines classroom and practical work and covers the following points: • Carrying out all normal tasks with the handler.
• Ascertaining if a load is safe to lift.
• Carrying out routine maintenance and servicing procedures in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines.
• Understanding how the handler functions, and any maintenance requirements.
• Being aware of how the machine’s stability is affected by the weight and size of the load, ground conditions and gradient.
• Understanding how to load, transport and store a selection of materials.
• Understanding basic pallet construction.
• Gaining an understanding of the permitted loading of scaffolds.

Crane Supervisor – CPCS Code A62

This course is aimed at supervisors and managers responsible for supervising lifting operations. Candidates must have sufficient experience of cranes to meet the requirements of BS7121 Safe Use of Cranes. Only individuals that are considered 100% suitable will be selected for this highly responsible role. When booking the course, applicants will be asked to fill in a self-profiling form to help determine their level of knowledge.

The course combines classroom and practical work, and covers the following points:
• Regulations, legislation and Codes of Practice relating to lifting activities.
• Ensuring safe working practices, including method statements.
• Taking personal responsibility.
• Describing types of cranes and technical terminology.
• Crane documentation.
• Understanding duty charts, crane stability and safety devices.
• Displaying an appreciation of cranes.
• BS 7121.
• The role of crane supervisor.
• The role of appointed person.
• Preparing an area with exclusion zones.

If you would like to know more about the benefits of holding a CPCS card or for information on training please call please call Dale on: +44 (0)1823 338606 or email us at: info@ukplantoperators.com

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