The Tottenham Court Road underground station upgrade project in central London has become the first construction site to insist on the new CSCS smartcards for all workers.
The joint-venture contractors on the £250m project, VINCI and Bam Nuttall, now require the 150 workers currently on the site (rising to 350 by April) to hold the new cards, which store all the workers’ information in relation to training and qualifications. The cards can be quickly checked using a handheld card reader, or via the user’s own computerised system.
CSCS says the smartcards will be “virtually impossible” to forge and can interact with other user-company systems, such as HR, finance, training and occupational health so that all holder data is quickly and easily accessible and verifiable.
Speaking at an event at Tottenham Court Road yesterday (8 February), CSCS chief executive, Brian Adams, said the smartcard is a positive step forward in ensuring onsite safety and security.
He added: “VINCI and Bam Nuttall at Tottenham Court Road is the first site to take the smartcard on board. In these challenging times it is good to see that clients and contractors are paying attention to skills and training. I hope other contractors will see what efficiencies and economies it can bring, and also take it on board.”
Jez Haskins, project director for VINCI/Bam Nuttall, commented: “We are proud to be involved in this project and pleased the site has been chosen to lead on the CSCS smartcard. We always strive to get a fully qualified workforce and to have evidence of those qualifications. We see the card as supporting the exchange of best practice, as workers can take their training from site to site.”
On the client side, London Underground’s project manager for the site, Ralph Freeston, said: “LUL has its own safety systems, and its own safety card system for working on the railway, but a lot of the Tottenham Court Road work doesn’t involve working on the tracks – that is why we use CSCS for work that is physically separate from the railway. The whole LUL team, including admin personnel, carry one.”
Construction union UCATT welcomed the development of the card and expressed its total support for the scheme. A spokesperson told SHP: “The card is a further step forward in ensuring the target of having a 100 per cent-carded, 100 per cent-competent workforce in construction. In health and safety terms it is all linked to competency. It ensures workers are undertaking jobs that they are qualified to do. To have a safe workforce they have to be properly trained and properly skilled.”