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CSCS SmartCards Explained

Posted on Friday, 26th July 2019

CSCS SmartCards Explained

Following on from our recent blog about the CSCS card scheme, this week we're looking at CSCS Smartcards and how they can benefit the cardholder and bring a multitude of operational efficiencies for contractors and industry professionals.

What is a CSCS SmartCard?

All CSCS cards are SmartCards – They contain a chip which stores information on the cardholder’s identity, qualifications and training. Site Managers and Employers can then read this information using a smartphone, tablet or PC using the GoSmart App. This application allows them to verify the employee’s records, to ensure the cardholder is qualified for the job on site.

Click the image below to find out how to use CSCS SmartCards and the GoSmart app. GoSmart App logo

Overview: The Benefits of Using CSCS Smart Technology on Site

For construction sites to remain compliant, safe and productive, all construction workers must have the appropriate training and qualifications.  CSCS SmartCards provide proof that workers are qualified for the job they do on site.

Whilst not a legal requirement to hold a CSCS Card, the majority of UK Construction sites require their workers to hold one as proof of their training and qualifications. However, industry surveys revealed that fewer than half of all card holders have their cards checked. This puts the safety of the card holder and others at risk and can damage the reputation of the industry when accidents occur.

When a card is read electronically it links with a secure online database to confirm the cardholder’s identity along with the training and qualifications they hold including:

  • Image of QR code on smart phonePhoto
  • Name
  • Registration Number
  • Date of Issue
  • Date of Expiry
  • Health and Safety Test Results
  • Qualifications/Occupations
  • Industry Endorsements
  • Type of Card
  • Other information

Card checks only take a few seconds and the information stored on the card can be saved onto a spreadsheet or secure database. Site managers can then ensure their workers are suitably qualified and have the correct level of health and safety for their job.

There are a number of different ways to read a smart card electronically: on a PC, simply download the free GoSmart from the CSCS website and purchase an inexpensive card reader, better still for those with smartphones or tablets, there is a free app available to download from Google Play or Windows Store.

Hold the card up to the back of the phone or tablet and the cardholders training and qualifications appear on the screen with the option to save the information if required. The GoSmart app can also be utilised for many other alternatives, which could also transform your business, allowing for operational efficiency; saving time and money.

CSCS SmartCards for Site Managers: Save Time, Save Money

The CSCS SmartCard helps site managers do much more than confirm the cardholder’s identification and qualifications. The card can access any database giving site managers a wealth of additional information. For example, the card can be linked to your in-house training database allowing site managers to view a workers training history whilst also being able to add any additional training given. This means next time the card is viewed electronically; the most up-to-date training records will be visible. This has the added benefit of being able to manage your workers training records as they move across multiple sites.

The CSCS SmartCard can help you become operationally more efficient, saving you time and money. It is a useful tool for managing inductions, along with toolbox talks on busy sites. Site managers can often be unsure which briefings each worker has received; this can result in repetition, unnecessary time off-site and decreased productivity.
Recording a site workers attendance at an induction or toolbox talk couldn’t be easier - simply swipe the attendee’s card and their records are automatically updated.

Avoid CSCS Card Fraud

The CSCS SmartCard also helps to tackle card fraud. Fraudulently obtained cards put the safety of workers at risk and harms the reputation of the industry when accidents occur.

Reading the card electronically will detect fake cards and differently obtained qualifications. Electronic card checks are the most effective way to prevent unqualified access to site.

You can also use the CSCS card with an access control system, providing you with useful on-site attendance data and an evacuation list in case of emergency. It can also prevent workers entering areas of construction they are not permitted.

Watch the CSCS SmartCard for Manager Video for information.

Image of two workers using CSCS card and smartphone scanner

CSCS SmartCards for Head Office

CSCS SmartCards are used on the majority of UK construction sites, however, less than 10% of sites are taking advantage of the technology contained within the card.

Did you know the CSCS SmartCard can automatically send site performance data to head office such as occupations employed on-site, subcontractor payroll and occupational health information?

This enables off-site managers to monitor the performance and capabilities of the workforce as they move across multiple sites.

CSCS SmartCards can be linked to state-of-the-art access control systems which can automatically record workers details so when they enter site it saves on administration time and eliminates the need for a separate access control card.

CSCS cards can help manage the health and well-being of the workforce. Long-term occupational health conditions account for 80% of construction related injuries. The CSCS card can access internal medical records ensuring workers are not put on jobs that aggravate existing medical conditions. This protects the health and well-being of the workers and reduces time lost through injury or ill health. What’s more, the CSCS SmartCard can help prevent injuries by monitoring exposure to potentially harmful equipment.

For example, the card can be used to log workers exposure to hand-arm vibration and alert workers to their safe exposure limit. Workers exposure can even be monitored across multiple sites. The card can also act as a key to start construction vehicles, meaning only those with appropriate qualifications can operate them.

Image of CSCS logo. SmartCard: Site of the future

The Future of CSCS Smart Cards

As technology rapidly evolves, CSCS are discovering new and innovative ways of using the SmartCard to transform your business. For example, did you know the SmartCard can be used to record the issue of safety equipment?

This ensures that everyone on site is appropriately protected to carry out site inventory checks and automate the ordering of supplies. They could even be used to make cashless payments, avoiding the need to carry cash on site.

There are other benefits with a CSCS SmartCard; main contractors and sub-contractors can share the data accessed via the card to help projects run more smoothly.

But that’s not all, the construction site of the future will see the introduction of virtual cards. A virtual card could be issued directly to your mobile phone or tablet device removing the need to carry a physical card. Virtual cards could also speed up the application process, allowing employers and individuals to order and pay for their cards online or through an app.

With advancement in biometric technology, a simple fingerprint or facial scan could one day access your qualifications, training, payroll and medical records. With so many possibilities isn’t it time you started using CSCS cards the smart way?

Reading CSCS Smart Cards

CSCS SmartCards can be read using Android/Windows smartphones or tablets using the GoSmart App; just check that you have near field communications (NFC) capability. You can also use card readers which linked to your computer or laptop.

Smartphones and tablets

To use the GoSmart App, download the CSCS app from the Google Play App Store. Once installed place the CSCS SmartCard on the back of the device, near the top NFC reader to view the Image of different card reader methods: phone, laptop and card scanner.information on screen.

Just ensure that your NFC (near field communication) is turned on by checking your device’s settings.

Card readers

For office usage, you can also purchase a card reader to work with the CSCS SmartCards; just ensure your reader is PC/SC accordant. For more information visit the CSCS website.

How ESS can Help

We hope you found the information about how SmartCards can benefit not only cardholders but businesses alike to tighten up on industry processes. For further information go to the CSCS SmartCards FAQs.

Need a CSCS Card? Contact our training team today for help guiding you through the application process. At ESS we offer a plethora of training courses and NVQ qualifications to help you get your skilled CSCS Card.

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