Tragically, 30 construction workers were involved in fatal accidents in 2016/17, making the construction industry the most dangerous in the UK. Despite ongoing efforts into improving Health & Safety standards, this work is impeded by untrained workers gaining unlawful access to sites. We all know that verifying a worker’s accreditations by manually checking their CSCS/CPCS cards is no longer effective, but is a handheld CSCS card checker really the answer?
In December 2017, five men were jailed for a combined total of 30 years for their role in running a ‘forgery factory’. Amongst other false documents, including passports and driving licenses, fraudulent Construction Skills Certification Scheme cards were discovered. It is estimated that 50,000 to 100,000 fake items were created and distributed by the convicted, and sadly this is just one of many similar cases.
As a result of the thriving fake CSCS card black market, The CITB CSCS Card Fraud and Onsite Card Checking Survey said 18% of people saw a fraudulent card over the course of 12 months. How can these unqualified people be stopped from entering sites?
IS A CSCS CARD CHECKER THE ANSWER?
To ensure onsite workers are who they say they are and have the appropriate training, the CITB have called for every site to check all cards electronically against their database. Generally, this requires the use of a handheld CSCS card checker, which verifies the card’s legitimacy by ensuring it is genuine and comparing the stored microchip information against the CITB/ CSCS database. The information will then be displayed, showing the card holder’s photo and information as well as whether the card is expired and what qualifications the worker has.
While these card readers are certainly a step in the right direction, there are still several issues that continue to plague the industry. Often it is error in human judgment that opens the door to unscrupulous workers gaining access to sites. The CITB CSCS survey found that 44% of people only had their card checked when enrolling with a new contractor. With only 14% of people being verified every time they enter a site, the potential for impersonation becomes a problem as it becomes easier for genuine cards to be passed to ‘unknowns’. Even when checks are made, the pressures of getting workers onsite as quickly as possible can lead to cases of mistaken identity or vital information being overlooked.
Even with the best intentions, it is not always realistic for sites to provide the man power or infrastructure needed to verify their workers effectively.
A BETTER SOLUTION
The answer to improving efficiency and consistency without increasing resources lies in two things – automation and biometric technology.
Through our software, MSite, the verification of a new worker’s identity and accreditations can be automatically verified against both the CITB and CSCS database. This information is then securely stored online, alongside unique fingerprint data. This allows sites to take advantage of our biometric turnstiles, which requires workers to quickly scan their finger to enter. Each time this happens, the person is automatically checked against the live databases to ensure their cards are valid, in date and belong to them. If not, an ‘access denied’ message will be displayed and entry will not be granted. Managing worker access in this way ensures the highest level of security while avoiding bottlenecks at access points.
To find out more about how MSite can create a safer working environment for your workers or its other capabilities, visit our website or give us a call on +44(0)333 456 2001.