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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.