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A Guide through the Health and Safety Passports Maze

Jun 13, 2008
I need to see your safety passport before you can come on site. Literally hundreds of thousands of people hear that phrase or something like it everyday in the UK and yet Safety Passports can seem like a black art to some. What are they? Where do I get one and most importantly which one do I get? They are the dilemmas that most people are faced with.

Well, let me see if I can demystify the Health and Safety Passports industry a little for you.

In the UK there are three main players, each having issued over six figures worth of Safety Passports to individual contractors.
- The Client Contractor National Safety Group CCNSG (also known as SCATS)
- The Construction Skills Certification Scheme - CSCS Card
- The Safety Pass Alliance (SPA)(also known as the Epic card, the UKPIA card, the Food card and The Passport to Safety)

So do I need more than one passport?
The problem is that it is down to the Client as to which particular passport scheme they implement on their site. Some passports can be interchangeable with a client like the CCNSG and SPA, the one that is least interchangeable is the CSCS card, but it is always worth checking with the client first.


The CCNSG which was the original safety passport of them all tends to be used most in the Power Generation Industries, the steel, oil, gas, and chemicals industries. It is a generic scheme, which is not industry specific and is therefore open to clients outside of the engineering construction industry.
The Passport is obtained after taking two days basic generic health and safety training and passing a multi choice test.


The CSCS card is primarily used in the construction industry. - There is no required training

To obtain a CSCS card workers are required to have completed a 45-minute multiple-choice test on health and safety in construction. It is a screen-based test and there are a maximum of 40 questions to answer. Workers can choose to attend a construction health and safety awareness course beforehand.

SPA Passport

SPA have a modular passport which has been developed with numerous industry sectors, including Food & Drink, Quarry, Petrol Retail, General Manufacturing, Building Maintenance, Pharma, Construction, Ports, Logistics, Landfill and others.

The passport is usually two days training. The first day is The Core Day which provides generic Health & Safety training. The second day is an industry specific day that addresses the particular safety needs of that sector. A delegates understanding is assessed by multiple choice

So what is the Passport

As evidence that the contractors have successfully completed the training, contractors are generally issued with a plasticised photographic pass. This enables the client to restrict entry to those who can prove they have undergone the training by producing their individual passport on site arrival.

One other question I get asked all the time is - So do they work ?

It has always been difficult to quantify the results of implementing a Safety Passport scheme on site, but over the past couple of years the SPA have been publishing results from clients. The full articles can be found on the SPA website but here are a few snippets from articles below

The introduction of the safety passport at Nestle UK was part of a review and tightening of all our own contractor management safety procedures. This has resulted in a reduction of contractor accident statistics by 68 per cent over the last two years.

Metronet using the SPA Underground Railway Passport as part of the Health and Safety Initiative led to a 75 per cent reduction in accident statistics in only 18 months.

Leicester City Council - The first local authority in England to introduce the SPA Building Maintenance safety passport scheme for its housing maintenance operatives has seen a 32 per cent drop in its accident rates in the last three years.

So there we have it, we train literally thousands of contractors a year and I hope that I have managed to clear up some of the common questions that we get asked by those people every day of the week
About the Author
Kerry Jones is the MD of GSS Training Limited.
From NLP to Health & Safety Passports GSS Training can help you with all your training needs.
Find out more at www.gsstraining.co.uk
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