With a range of major new infrastructure projects in the pipeline in the UK, having suitable construction qualifications is essential. For site supervisors the most suitable qualification is the SSSTS course, or the management equivalent. Those who have passed the training successfully will be issued with a certificate to prove it. The CITB certificate demonstrates to employers – or potential employers – that you have the necessary skills to oversee day to day safety and supervision and also conduct inductions and risk assessments. With safety on construction sites frequently in the headlines – and not always in a good way – this qualification is eagerly sought by employers.
What is SSSTS?
SSSTS courses are basically Health and Safety courses for supervisors. They are considered suitable for managers, and most construction managers will take the course before progressing to the higher level management course. Health and Safety on construction sites has long been in the spotlight and partly as a result fatalities have fallen significantly over the last thirty years; however, they remain higher than in most industries and injury levels are equally high. The course focusses on two main areas of Health and Safety; the law and risk assessment. While the legal aspects of site safety may seem daunting, the course is designed to explain clearly the legal framework in which supervisors have to operate, their duties and responsibilities within that framework and how it relates to practical everyday situations. The management level course examines this aspect in more detail, reflecting the greater role managers play in legal compliance.
The Risk Factor
Focussing next on the creation and implementation of risk assessments for construction sites is the more practical element of the course. In nearly every investigation into deaths on construction sites the main contributing factors have been shown to be poor working practices and most accidents are attributed to avoidable causes. Comprehensive risk assessments help to reduce – hopefully eliminate – these issues and can have a significant impact on the welfare and safety of workers, visitors to the site, and members of the public. There are some inherent risks in the industry – working at heights, working with heavy machinery and hazardous substances – but assessed and managed properly these risks can be all but eliminated. In addition, the training qualifies supervisors to conduct inductions for new staff and to ensure that access to safety equipment and information is easily available.
Employability and Safety Combined
The certificate quickly demonstrates to employers that an individual holds the necessary experience and qualifications to safely manage a site and other workers. The CITB (who are the accreditation body for SSSTS courses) have a simple process to allow employers to check the details and ensure that the qualifications are genuine and valid.
Achieving these qualifications can be a significant step to gaining long term employment with construction firms of any size and, just as importantly, can contribute to the gradually improving statistics for death or injury within the construction trade.