Call to tackle construction card fraud

One in five of those responsible for checking cards on construction sites have seen fake certification cards for construction workers in the past year, which means that some workers may not be qualified to do the jobs they are doing, according to a recently published survey.

There were 1180 responses to the UK-wide survey which also showed that while 86% of cardholders had their cards checked, under half (43%) were checked to see if they were actually qualified to do the job.

The survey, by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) is part of a drive for construction firms to adopt new technology which will make it quicker and easier to identify fraudsters.

All 1.4 million CSCS cards have microchip technology embedded in them, which allows a site manager access to a wealth of information about each worker, including their qualifications.

Despite the availability of new technology, 69% of respondents said they were still checking cards using a paper-based system, with only 6% using smart technology.

UCATT Acting General Secretary Brian Rye said; "UCATT welcomes this survey which shows the need for vigilance on site around CSCS cards. It is everyone's aim to ensure that workers have the right card for the right job. Having certainty that workers are fully competent and have the right card for the work they are undertaking is a major factor in improving construction safety.”

Braden Connolly, Head of Product Management at CITB, said: “Producing or using cards fraudulently can constitute a criminal offence. Increased action is needed to stamp out the fraudsters, which is why we are calling on industry to adopt new technology to help tackle this problem.

“CITB will continue to share intelligence and work with the authorities whenever the evidence suggests criminal activity is taking place.”

CSCS Chief Executive Graham Wren said: “Thorough card checks must be carried out before allowing workers on site and employers need to ensure workers have the correct qualifications for the work they do. More and more people are realising technology, such as a CSCS SmartCard, is a simple and cost effective way to do this. By simply placing the card into a reader or compatible device such as a tablet or smartphone you can instantly check the validity of a card and the qualifications held by the card holder.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to increase the use of technology so that relying on visual card checks becomes a thing of the past.” 

The full report is available from www.cscs.uk.com/cardsurvey

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