A large number of our delegates have been questioning us as to why we do not offer evening classes?  In truth we didn’t really have an answer for them other than to say we weren’t sure if there was sufficient demand to justify running them.  At the time that was the best answer we could give however, after some discussion throughout the company we had to agree that we were not actually sure that was necessarily true at all.

Being innovative as we are (after all we were the first to bring you weekend CITB training!) and being conscious that it is you (our delegates) that drive demand we have decided that we really need to challenge our perceptions here, so by popular demand we have decided to trial the running of CITB: Site Supervisors’ Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) evening courses from September through to November 2019.  The courses will run for four hours per evening on four consecutive days enabling us gauge demand and determine whether we should consider running the full suite of CITB: Site Safety Plus courses in the same manner.

The SSSTS two day course is intended for those who already fulfill or are about to take up supervisory responsibilities on a construction site and provides with a good ability to understand health, safety, welfare and environmental issues, as well as their legal responsibilities relevant to their work activities on site.

The course highlights the requirement to promote health and safety through effective supervision and is endorsed by the United Kingdom Contractors Group (UKCG) as the standard training for all supervisors working on sites within the UK.We will be running this course alongside our standard block week SSSTS and our weekend SSSTS courses and for those individuals looking to progress their career’s we would suggest that the five day CITB Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) training course would be the next logical step.

Goldcross Training are supporting the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) #Dustbuster campaign in a bid to raise awareness about occupational lung disease within the construction industry.  The campaign will run from the 17th June – 12th July 2019 and the HSE are providing a range of free resources to help businesses and workers:

  • Know the risk
  • Plan their work
  • Use the right controls when working with dust

Throughout the campaign, the HSE will be targeting firms across Great Britain in a new series of inspections focusing on dust control, particularly in industries where occupational lung diseases (including in some cases occupational cancers are more common) such as: construction, woodworking and food manufacturing.

HSE Inspectors will be visiting business across the country to see first hand the measures that have been put in place to protect worker’s lungs from the impact of dust.  They will be looking for evidence of: both businesses and their workers knowing the risks linked to asbestos, silica, wood and flour dust (as applicable), that they are planning their work appropriately and using the right controls. Where considered necessary the HSE will use enforcement to make sure people are protected.

Recently released figures indicate that there are:

  • 12,000 estimated deaths related to lung disease per annum due to past exposure through work
  • 20,000 new cases of breathing or lung related problems (caused or made worse by work) are reported on average per annum

Additionally there were considered to be:

  • 2,595 deaths directly related to Mesothelloma with a similar number of ‘lung cancer’ related deaths being linked to asbestos exposure – these death rates are projected to continue for the rest of the decade.

How lung diseases contributes to the current estimated work related death rate can be seen at figure 1:

Sadly despite the effort that has gone into identifying and providing for asbestos related hazards in recent years individuals and their families are still experiencing the impact of exposure to it today, despite the fact that its use was banned within the UK some 20 years ago.  

This is one of the major reasons that Goldcross consider campaigns of this type to be of such importance particularly as the hazards related to both dust and fume rarely result in injury but almost always in chronic illness that will impact individuals considerably later in life.  Hence wilst it is vitally important to both realise and provide for the risks of asbestos it is equally important to consider dust and fume resulting from any activity within the workplace in order to ensure that appropriate control measures are put in place and exposure misimised, so that workers and visitors remain safe. 

Goldcross helps to achieve this through the provision of a range of education and training such as the suite of CITB: Site Safety Plus courses and the IOSH Managing Safely course.


Construction scheme card fraud is an ongoing and serious issue for the industry, such fraud not only devalues the scheme but puts both employers and employees at risk, as fraudulent card holders will rarely have achieved or maintained the competence they claim.

The CITB work closely with the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to gather evidence to prosecute fraudulent behavior and bring criminals to account.  They are also committed to preventing fraud and provide a range of tools and information to assist employers in identifying CSCS card fraud.

One such tool provided by the CITB is their online Card Checker – if it is a genuine card, you should be able to find it on the system.  Additionally some android and windows smart phones will also allow you to read the card with the appropriate app further details are available from the CSCS website.

We would suggest that it is good practice for all employers to make use of these tools periodically and especially on recruitment of a new employee.   

Identifying a Fraudulent Card

A number of security features are normally built into a construction skills certification scheme (CSCS) card.

A genuine CSCS card will have:

  • The CSCS hologram in the top left-hand corner
    • on moving the card slightly to an angle you will see the words ‘Construction Skill Certification Scheme’ in the reflective element
  • A recent photo of the person on the right hand side of the card
    • the photo should have been taken within the last five years and should be a good likeness of the person before you
  • The card holder’s name printed below the CSCS hologram
  • The card holder’s registration number printed below their name along with the card’s expiry date.
    • the registration number should also be repeated on the back of the card
  • The ‘HS&E Tested’ logo next to the ID photo
    • this will be in a silver coloured box next to the ID photo or
    • this will be in a gold coloured box next to the ID photo
  • The card colour going right to the edge of the card
    • some forgeries are known to have what appears to be a white edge to the front of the card
  • Sharp and clear printing and colours – some forgeries have blurred or dull printing
  • The correct spelling  – some forgeries have spelling mistakes

To find out more about how to tell a genuine CSCS card from a fraudulent one, visit the CSCS website.

Action to Take if You Think Someone has a Fraudulent Card

If possible check the details of the card with the CITB online Card Checker – if it is a genuine card, you should be able to find it on the system.

If you suspect a worker of using a fraudulent card to work or enter a construction site:

  • retain the card if possible
  • make photocopies of front and back of the card
  • record cardholder’s name and address
  • ask the cardholder where the card was obtained from
  • call the local police and report the matter
  • refuse the worker access to the site (subject to company rules)

If it is a suspected fraudulent CSCS card:

  • send copies of all evidence, marked “SUSPECTED FRAUDULENT CARD” with crime reference number given by the local police to:

Operations Team
The Building Centre
26 Store Street

  • inform CITB by post, marking it for the attention of the Fraud Investigator, or email making sure to include:
    • a copy of all evidence
    • the crime number given by the local police.

The CITB and CSCS will fully support any prosecution with technical and factual evidence.

Combating CSCS card fraud requires all aspects of the construction industry to remain vigilant: employers, contractors, sub-contractors, employees, certificating bodies and training providers.

As a training provider Goldcross recognises the importance of ensuring its delegates reach the minimum level of competence required to pass the courses they undertake (construction related or otherwise) and as an avid supporter of the CITB Site Safety Plus Scheme providing the following courses:

we will always ensure that delegates reach the required standard before we support the allocation of any award/certificate/diploma.

As an employer you owe it to yourselves, your employees and the industry to ensure you carry out due diligence in order to ensure that the individuals working for you either directly or indirectly have the appropriate competence and certification.

It is vitally important when undertaking any type of training course to ensure that you learn the course content to the best of your ability in order to give yourself the best possible chance of successfully completing any form of assessment – NEBOSH examinations are no different.

There is however another important aspect to consider when undertaking NEBOSH examinations and that is the use of ‘command words’ by the examining body.

Understanding NEBOSH ‘command’ words and what they mean can be the difference between a ‘pass or fail’ and delegates often have problems in determining what is meant by them – in short they are ‘action verbs’ and they provide an indicator with regard to how the examining body expect the question to be answered.

This is a short guide based on five examples contained in current NEBOSH Resources on how to recognise the ‘command words’ that you are likely to come across when undertaking the NEBOSH National General Certificate.

Command Word One:-   Identify

Meaning:  To give to reference to an item, which could be its name or title.

Type of answer required:  Normally a single word or short phrase answer is enough provided it is clear and concise.

Example Question:  Identify FOUR hazards associated with excavations?


  • Underground Services
  • Collapse of the sides
  • Falling materials
  • Water ingress

Command Word Two:-   Give

Meaning:  To provide factual, short answers, such as an example or the meaning of something.

Type of answer required:  Normally a single word, phrase or sentence is sufficient.

Example Question:  Identify FOUR types of safety sign AND give an example in EACH case?


  • Mandatory Signs – e.g. Wear Ear Protection
  • Warning signs – e.g. Caution Hot Surface
  • Prohibition signs – e.g. no smoking
  • Emergency or Safe Condition Signs – e.g. first-aid box

Command Word Three:-  Outline

Meaning:  To provide a short summary of the principal (important) features or different parts

Type of answer required:  Note an exhaustive description is not required, just a brief summary of the major aspects of whatever is stated in the question

Example QuestionOutline FOUR hazards associated with excavations?


  • Underground Services – Contact with or rupturing of electricity, gas or water utilities
  • Collapse of the sides – Unsupported trench or incorrect angle of the sides
  • Falling materials – Spoil dug from excavation or materials and tools stored at ground level could fall in
  • Water ingress – Through heavy rain or burst water main

Command Word Four:-  Describe

Meaning:  To give a detailed information about the primary features of something or a subject, without trying to fully explain its operation or purpose. 

Type of answer required:  A description that is sufficient to allow an individual (in this case the examiner) to visualise what you are describing without attempting to explain.

Example Question:  Describe the mechanical hazards associated with a bench grinder?

An entanglement hazard would be associated with the rotating spindle that the abrasive wheel is mounted on. Drawing in and trapping is associated with the gap between the tool rest and the rotating abrasive wheel. Friction or abrasion hazards would be associated with the surface of the rotating abrasive wheel and stabbing or puncture hazards could be created by flying fragments or pieces of ejected broken wheel.

Command Word Five:-  Explain

Meaning:  To give the reader an understanding and or make an idea/relationship clear to them

Type of answer required:  An explanation that sufficiently demonstrates a delegates knowledge or understanding with regard to ‘why or how’ something happens. The appropriate use of examples may be useful in answering such questions.

Example QuestionExplain how sensitive protective equipment (trip device) can reduce the risk of contact with moving parts of machinery?

Sensitive protective equipment is designed to identify the presence of a person or body part within the danger zone of machinery. Examples of such devices include pressure mats and light beams which are connected to the machine controls and would stop the machine rapidly should a person or body part be detected.


Command words are specifically associated with the learning outcomes and assessment objectives of a qualification.  Knowledge of them is not only beneficial in answering exam questions but they can also be a very useful revision aid in confirming your knowledge and understanding of a specific topic.

Delegates should not let command words confuse them and they should not lose sight of what the question is asking them.  Delegates need to consider the following factors for each question posed:

  • What is the command word?
  • What do I need to say to gain marks?
  • What is or is not relevant to the question?

Use command words as a guide when answering questions which will enable you to demonstrate in your exams the level of knowledge and understanding you have regarding a topic.

The simplified guide above will help you understand what is required by each command word but better still review the NEBOSH guide in full alongside the specific course learning outcomes and assessment objectives.

When booking onto our NEBOSH Courses, our instructors will set delegates homework to help prepare them for the examination and this will include the use and understanding of ‘command words’.  Additionally Goldcross runs specific NEBOSH revision days for the benefit of all its delegates at very competitive prices.

Fell free to give us a call on: 0203 633 5505 or send us an email to discuss your NEBOSH training needs in more detail at: training@goldcross-training.com.


Acronyms are widely used in every walk of life and can be extremely useful particularly when producing a written document but sometimes we forget that not everybody will understand what they represent.  You can just imagine a keen 16 year old turning up at a building site and asking a foreman:

“Do you have any jobs going?”

Foreman’s response:  “Have you completed your CITB HSA course? and do you have a CSCS Labourer (green) card?”

I don’t know about you but at the age of sixteen (and if I’m honest a lot older) that would have left me scratching my head.  So what do these acronyms stand for:

CITB:  Construction Industry Training Board

The CITB are the construction industry training board and a major partner in the sector skills council.  They work with the construction industry to encourage training and develop a safe, professional and fully qualified workforce.

CITB HSA:  CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course

Construction sites can be dangerous places for individuals that have little experience of working or operating in the sector.  Therefore, it is only sensible that everybody who intends to work on site undergoes some formal training to provide for their own safety and the safety of the individuals they may be working alongside.   The CITB HSA course is a one-day course that provides the necessary training to operate on a construction site and once completed individuals can then start to think about applying for their CSCS Labourer (Green) Card. The card helps to inform prospective employers that the holder has met a minimum standard of experience and training and it also enables them to check their credentials via the CSCS system (more on that later).  Whilst there is no specific legal requirement to hold the CSCS Labourer (Green) Card many construction sites within the UK mandate their use.

CITB SSSTS:  CITB Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme

As individuals develop their expertise there is a natural tendency for them to take on more responsibility particularly with regard to younger workers and as a result many go on to adopt supervisory duties.  The CITB Site Supervisors Safety Training (SSSTS) course is a two-day course that teaches individuals (or simply brings them up to date) about their legal responsibilities regarding health, safety, welfare and environmental issues.  Once completed the award must be renewed at the five-year period (or before as if your certificate expires you will need to sit the full course again) by taking the CITB SSSTS refresher course.

CITB SMSTS: CITB Site Management Safety Training Scheme

The CITB SMSTS course provides individuals with an enhanced understanding of their health, safety, welfare and environmental duties and responsibilities on a construction site.  The course is focused upon those individuals who have direct responsibility for workers on site or who are planning to adopt a role with such responsibilities.  The CITB SMSTS course is therefore suitable for: project/site managers, managers and supervisors, business owners and clients alike.  Once completed the award must be renewed at the five-year period (or before as if your certificate expires you will need to sit the full course again) by taking the CITB SMSTS refresher course.

CITB SSP:  CITB Site Safety Plus

The CITB Site Safety Plus (SSP) scheme is a suite of health and safety courses that assist in the development of the health and safety knowledge of individuals that operate within the construction industry. Therefore, the scheme not only aids to maintain a safe workforce but also assists in the career development of individuals.

The courses detailed above are designed to provide for a wide range of individuals undertaking various roles on site giving everyone from labourer/operative to senior manager the skills they need to develop their careers within the industry.

From the CITB Health and Safety Awareness (HSA) course, a fundamental step in acquiring the CSCS Labourer (Green) Card, to the CITB Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS), the courses are designed to ensure that both individuals and employers benefit from them and most importantly that construction sites are operated as safely as they possibly could be.

Provisional Riddor reporting figures* released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) may indicate that complacency within some industrial sectors is resulting in unnecessary fatalities. The number of people who lost their lives whist at work, in Great Britain, over the 2017-18 annual reporting period has seen an increase upon previous years with 144 deaths recorded. That is a 12% increase, nine fatalities, in comparison to the 2016-17 reporting period.  These figures do not include deaths resulting from: natural causes, road traffic accidents, any form of commuting or service with the armed forces whilst on duty.  Neither do they include (importantly!) those fatalities that result from occupational diseases – more on that later.

In addition, it was reported that 100 members of the public also lost their lives as a result of work related activity.

Marked Increase In Construction Sector Fatalities

It was the construction sector that once again took centre stage in this report which, having seen the lowest number of recorded fatalities on record (30) for the sector in 2016-17, saw a marked 27% increase in that figure in this year’s report. In total the provisional figures indicate that 38 construction workers suffered fatal injury throughout the 2017-18 reporting period.

Fatalities By Sector

Fatal Accident Type

The most common type of fatal accident continues to be the result of: falls from height (35) and being struck by a moving vehicle (26) or by a moving object (23) which accounted for nearly 60% of deaths in 2017/18.

HSE article 2Type of Fatal Accident

Age and Gender Appears to Have an Impact

As in previous reporting periods most fatalities 138 (98%) were reported to be male workers.  This year’s report however also highlights a steep increase in the fatal injuries recorded amongst the 60’s and over age group, who whilst only making up 10% of the workforce accounted for 40% of all fatal injuries reported.  Worryingly a trend is clearly appearing, with year on year (almost!) increases in fatalities amongst this age group.

Fatalities by Age

Long Term Trends

Whilst there has been a considerable reduction in the fatalities that occur annually as a result of work place activity (there were 495 such fatalities reported in 1981), the last five years have seen little or no improvement, with the average number of workers killed annually over that period being 141.

Occupational Diseases

It is difficult to ascertain these figures directly as they typically occur many years after exposure and although we are now better able to record deaths related to specific diseases such as asbestos related cancer (mesothelioma) of which 2,595 such deaths were recorded in 2016, other deaths relating to occupational disease still require estimation.

This year’s report estimates that in the region of 13,000 deaths occur each year as a result occupational lung disease and cancer due to past exposure, primarily to chemicals and dust within the workplace.


The downward trend in accidents in the workplace has stagnated and there are clear statistical indications that such accidents are impacted by: industrial sector, gender, age and activity.  The number of deaths resulting annually from past exposure to health-related hazards in the workplace are considerably greater than the headline figures surrounding fatal accidents.

The figures suggest that employers must do more to challenge themselves and their line managers in a number of areas, not least:

  • Do our H&S procedures adequately address those activities highlighted in the report as high risk (i.e. working at height, traffic management, etc)?  
  • How does our H&S policy provide for older workers? How do we determine their ability, fitness and competence to undertake tasks or operate in certain areas?
  • Have we fully considered the impact of: dust, fume and the variety of chemicals in use within our work places? Are we undertaking the necessary workplace monitoring to identify the true extent of the hazard? Are we providing enough health monitoring on behalf of our employees?  
  • Are our H&S audits suitable and sufficient? Do we ensure that appropriate PPE is not only provided but in use and that activities are undertaken in accordance with procedures?
  • How are we ensuring that our sub-contractors (where appropriate) are meeting their statutory duties?

Given that organisations can now expect very substantial fines and the possibility of custodial sentences as a result of health and safety failings they can ill afford to become complacent.  Employers must ensure that they not only have a suitable and sufficient safety program in place but that they are also providing the necessary training to the right individuals within their workforce at the right time, irespective of age or gender.

*Review the full report produced by the Health and Safety Executive.