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January 16, 2012

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Jail terms for health and safety test fraudsters

Two men have been jailed for nine months each for taking health and safety tests on behalf of other construction workers.
Gurpreet Singh and Parampreet Singh both pleaded guilty to fraud at Luton Crown Court last week, after staff at the CITB-ConstructionSkills test centre in the town realised that they had taken multiple tests using several other people’s identification passes bearing their own photos.
Both men are foreign nationals and will be deported once they have served their sentences.
CITB-ConstructionSkills chief executive, Mark Farrar condemned the practice, saying: “I’m glad the vigilance of [our] staff caught and put a stop to this illegal activity. We support the industry by continually investigating test fraud, and we take it very seriously indeed.”
He added: “Proxy testing is self-defeating because it both endangers the lives of the people who solicit it and their colleagues on construction sites. Those who are found to be proxy testing will be reported to the Police and could face prosecution.”
The CITB confirmed that although the CPS did not take action against those who  commissioned the tests from the Singhs, the parties have been identified as fraudulent, so their test results will be wiped from the system and they will not be allowed to take future tests.

Some 500,000 people a year take the CITB-ConstructionSkills health and safety test, which costs £17.50. Its aim is to raise standards across the industry by ensuring that workers have a minimum level of health, safety and environmental awareness before going on site.

In a similar case, eight people pleaded guilty to fraud at Nottingham Crown Court last week, after more than £500,000 was claimed from two colleges for health and safety training that never took place.
Castle College in Nottingham paid out £475,391 for 583 students who, it was told, had taken a customer services or health and safety course. North Warwickshire and Hinckley College handed over £27,108 for 249 students it believed had taken a health and safety course.
The eight people in the dock worked for training firms Training Options UK and FE Options, and for Castle College and were prosecuted following a three-year Police investigation.
For the full story, visit the BBC website here.

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10 years ago

You echo the comments I was going to make – how were these guys given 9 months jail terms, yet in the case of the fatalility a 12 months suspended sentence was given.

10 years ago

Without wanting to belittle this offence it seems to me that the ones who comissioned the fraud should be receiving a greater penalty. Furthermore, 9 months in jail seems out of proportion to the 12 months suspended sentence for allowing unprotected roof work which resulted in a fatal fall, as reported elsewhere on this site.

Is fraud now so much more heinous than causing death?

10 years ago

It just demonstrates how simple the CITB H&S test is if a couple of foreign nationals can routinely pass it without any apparent problems.