Unite Scaffolders’ Bulletin – January 2017

Unite Scaffolders’ Bulletin – January 2017

10 January 2017

Notice to Unite members on CISRS CPD from June 2017 onwards – Don’t be charged for rectifying the industry’s shortcomings

On the 8th June 2016, CISRS (Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme) issued a press release announcing that from the 1st June 2017 the scheme will introduce a 2-day CPD (Continuing Professional Development) course, which will be a mandatory requirement prior to Scaffolder and Advanced Scaffolder CISRS card renewal.

The HSE have raised serious concerns in regard to the scaffolding industry, identifying shortcomings in relation to keeping workforce competence up to date, not least with legislation and regulatory changes. The HSE therefore requested the introduction of CPD for scaffolders in this essential and safety critical sector. These HSE concerns cannot be ignored, and highlight in HSE’s opinion the need for the ongoing development and competence accreditation of the workforce within the scaffolding industry, for enhanced site safety, and the protection of the UK public.
The arranging of training and meeting the cost is the responsibility of the employers in their duty of care. All costs should be met by the employers.

It is standard practice for people to undergo regular and periodic training in a variety of professions throughout industry, and it is also standard practice for their employers to bear the costs of that training. The Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 places a duty upon employers to provide “information, instruction, training and supervision”, and section 9 clearly outlines the “Duty not to charge employees”, whereby “No employer shall levy or permit to be levied on any employee of his in respect of anything done in pursuance of any specific requirement of the relevant statutory provisions”.
The Health and Safety at Work Act is known as an “Enabling Act”, and other related statutory regulations that it underpins include the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, inclusive of section 13 on capabilities and training, and the Work at Height Regulations 2005, not least upon competence. Furthermore HSE guidance notes prepared by CITB for workers regarding the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 also clearly state that “to gain the necessary skills and knowledge, appropriate training needs to be provided by your employer”.

The onus rests squarely with your employer to arrange training and meet the costs in full.

Unite welcome the request from the HSE to address shortcomings in the industry skills set regarding safety critical training, and move towards the professionalisation of the UK scaffolding workforce. The content of the CPD course reflects what should have been taking place as a matter of course regardless, although evidently as identified by HSE, this has not been the case.
Although CISRS itself is not statutory, it is established as the recognised scheme for demonstrating that statutory provisions are being met, and has therefore to all intents and purposes become the standard for accrediting scaffolders across UK industry. CISRS is in effect the de facto Licence to Practice for scaffolders. Consequently if CPD can move the industry a step closer in securing a mandatory Licence to Practice system, increasing safety on site and for the general public, and helping to suppress and eradicate unregulated competition from unregistered and cowboy operators, then this needs to be welcomed by all.

In addition, non-possession of CPD prior to CISRS card renewal should not be a barrier to employment, and employers should be challenged where this is the case. Moreover, for those operatives who are unemployed and/or who have been made redundant prior to CISRS renewal, the union has requested CISRS ascertain funding streams moving forward.

If you experience any difficulty regarding the above, contact your Unite workplace representative or shop steward. In the absence of a representative on site you should contact your Unite regional office for assistance.